Life Sciences gets relief from construction fumes

By Michelle Roberts

Arizona Daily Wildcat

Fumes that have plagued the Life Sciences South Building sporadically for the last two months finally have subsided this week.

Building monitor Pamela Murray said throughout August and September she received about 25 complaints from building employees that fumes were coming into the building from the construction site to the south.

Diesel exhaust and sealant fumes from the Environmental and Natural Resources Building construction site were coming into the building through air intakes as construction crews connected utility tunnels to Life Sciences South, said occupational safety officer Herb Wagner.

Murray said the fumes are not present constantly or even hourly. She said she has not received any complaints this week.

"When it's bad, it's bad. But I just call (Facilities, Design and Construction), and they try to curb the problem," Murray said. "We've tried to be flexible and as understanding as possible."

Melissa Dryden, a public information coordinator for Facilities Design and Construction, said the fumes are being drawn into the building because crews have to work so close to the air intakes.

Crews have tried to work in those areas on Saturdays and later in the evening or when the building is not occupied to try to minimize problems, she said.

The crews hope to be done in the area right next to Life Sciences South, which is located at 1007 E. Lowell St., very soon, Dryden said. The fumes should not be a problem once they are done with the utility tunnel.

Murray said, "Overall, I've been pleased that we've been working together."

Wagner said Risk Management does not believe the fumes pose a health risk, because of the short exposure time and the diffusion factor once the fumes enter the building.

"We don't think it's a health risk, " he said. "It's certainly unpleasant, but we don't believe there's a health risk."

Wagner said construction of the new building is expected to be complete in a year and a half.

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