New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection
SCHOOL RADON TESTING PROGRAM
Summary of Testing Requirements
are guidelines for testing procedures that must be followed
law (N.J.S.A. 26:2D-70 et seq.) states that buildings can be
tested only by certified radon professionals or the owners of
the buildings, except where individuals are exempted from this
requirement by the DEP under N.J.A.C. 7:28-27.31. School districts
may elect to have one or more employees from the district attend
a DEP-approved training course on school testing in order to
receive an exemption and identification number to conduct testing
in that school district only. If an exemption is not received,
schools must use certified radon businesses to conduct testing.
Information regarding approved DEP training courses for school
testing or a list of certified radon businesses can be obtained
by calling the DEP Radon Information Line at (800) 648-0394
or (609) 984-5425, or accessing the DEP Radon Website at www.njradon.org.
must use the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) document,
Radon Measurement in Schools (Revised Edition), EPA 402-R-92-014,
July 1993, including the sheet entitled "Corrections in the
Second Printing," as the basic guidance for testing schools.
Radon testing businesses and schools conducting radon testing
must use this specific document as guidance. The document may
be obtained from the EPA Indoor Air Quality Info Line at (800)
for radon testing or remediation may be made either directly
with a radon business certified by the DEP, or with a company
that subcontracts to a DEP-certified radon business. In the
latter case, the name of the certified radon business that will
be used must be included in the contract.
information on testing is provided in "School Radon Testing
Program: Questions and Answers," provided at the DEP Radon Website,
recommends, as does EPA, that short-term tests be conducted
on weekdays while the school is in session and the heating,
ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system is operating
normally, during the cold weather months of October through
March. Research has shown that these conditions provide the
best assessment of students’ average exposure. Testing
in warm weather, or on weekends or holidays, may not provide
test results that reflect average exposure, due to the fact
that windows may be open, the HVAC may be on different settings
than on weekdays, repair work may be occurring, and so forth.
All these conditions can greatly affect radon levels.
feel they must test outside of the October through March period,
or on weekends or holidays, they are required to document the
reasons and maintain this documentation on file. Schools must
also document what steps were taken to ensure that doors and
windows are kept closed except for normal entry and exit, that
the HVAC is operating as on weekdays, and that there are no
unusual activities occurring in the building that could affect
air currents and air pressure. Parents may request this if they
become concerned about why testing was not done in the recommended
strongly recommends that testing not be done in the summer in
buildings without central air conditioning, due to the very
high likelihood that windows will be opened during the testing
It is recommended
that the HVAC system be inspected prior to testing, and repaired
or adjusted as appropriate so that there are no HVAC malfunctions
that could affect test results.
tests should be done with the HVAC system operating at normal
weekday settings, with the usual setback periods, and with the
building closed except for normal entry and exit starting at
least 12 hours before the beginning of a two- to five-day test.
valid test results, it is particularly important for short-term
tests that doors and windows be kept closed except for normal
exit and entry. Keeping doors and windows closed to the extent
possible minimizes the unpredictable impact on radon levels
caused by air currents and air pressure changes from outside
weather conditions. These changes in air flow and pressure can
have dramatic impacts on radon concentrations. If open doors
and windows are observed during the test period and reported
to the business analyzing test results, the business must state
in their report to the school that the results could be invalid
based on this observation. In this event, parents or staff may
insist that testing be repeated to obtain valid test results.
cooperation of teachers and staff in maintaining closed building
conditions, it is recommended that the principal of the school
talk to teachers and staff personally about the importance of
the test and keeping doors and windows closed. This has been
found to be the most effective strategy in gaining cooperation.
The DEP Radon website, njradon.org, has a handout for teachers
and staff that can be used in explaining closed building conditions.
have compelling reasons to deviate from any of the recommendations
in Radon Measurement in Schools, they should document
the reasons and maintain this documentation on file at the school.
Parents may request to see this if they become concerned about
such deviations. School officials should not hesitate to contact
the DEP Radon Section if they have questions about testing procedures,
at (800) 648-0394.
recommends that the results of radon testing be posted in an
area easily accessed by parents and the public. Test results
should be accompanied by a fact sheet "Interpretation of Radon
Testing Results" available at the DEP Radon Website, www.njradon.org.
In addition, it is recommended that districts provide information
to parents prior to testing and following testing, so that parents
are fully informed of the testing program. This will minimize
parent concerns about the purpose of testing and health consequences
from radon. Samples of letters that can be used, and a basic
fact sheet for parents, can be obtained at www.njradon.org.
levels (4 picocuries per liter or higher) of radon are found,
it is recommended that affected areas be mitigated. New Jersey
law (N.J.S.A. 26:2D-70 et seq.) requires that mitigation, including
both design and installation, must be performed by certified
radon mitigators. A list of mitigation businesses certified
to conduct school mitigations can be found at www.njradon.org.
It is recommended that mitigators follow the EPA document, Reducing
Radon in Schools: A Team Approach, EPA 402-R-94-008, April
1994, which can also be obtained from EPA at (800) 438-4318.
This document outlines a team approach in which mitigators work
with school representatives or consultants familiar with the
operation of the school’s HVAC system.
information on the School Radon Testing Program can be obtained
at www.njradon.org, or from the DEP Radon Information Line at
(800) 648-0394 or (609) 984-5425.