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Exhaust Fumes Continue To Plague Sonora Regional Medical Center

Sonora, CA — Since moving into the new building in January 2004, Sonora Regional Medical Center has experienced intermittent instances of exhaust smells entering the facility.

In certain atmospheric conditions, such as extreme cold, and due to the building´s location adjacent to a hillside, exhaust may settle on the roof or drift in the direction of the air handlers.

The building was designed in compliance with codes that specify the location of air intakes to the exhaust stacks. S.R.M.C. has pursued many ideas to prevent the exhaust from entering the air handlers.

In response to this continuing problem, S.R.M.C. has installed charcoal filters, electrostatic air filters, low emission burners and tuned the boilers. In addition the hospital has retained R.G.A., an environmental hygenist firm, to test and monitor 23 different diesel exhaust components. All concentrations were found to be well below the O.S.H.A. exposure limits.

The next step is to install a discharge fan on the stack to propel the exhaust further up into the air with the hope that prevailing winds will disperse the fumes.

According to S.R.M.C.´s Vice President of Business Planning and Marketing Doug Duffield, “We are absolutely concerned for the health and safety of our staff and patients and we´re going to do everything that we can to continue to solve this problem.”.

Written by Bill Johnson