MOUNT VERNON, N.Y. – Employees of the Westchester County Department of Senior Programs and Services in Mount Vernon remain exiled from their offices following a chemical leak last week.
According to officials, the employees will not be permitted in their South First Avenue offices until at least Wednesday after a rooftop air conditioning tower leaked chemicals, forcing an evacuation of the top floor of the building.
A custodian first observed the leak at approximately 6:30 a.m. on Friday. As many as 15 gallons of glutaraldehyde – which is used to halt bacteria from growing and spreading, but can irritate the skin – leaked from the tower, according to county spokesperson Donna Greene.
Employees were displaced from the sixth floor to the 10th floor. The county has ordered a professional cleaning crew to the site after signing a $20,000 emergency contract with Tri-State Environmental last week. The company, from Hawthorne, will seal the leak, flush out the air conditioning system and clean the carpets.
The custodian was exposed to the chemical, but has since returned to work after being evaluated. Air tests were completed on Friday, confirming that the threat was restricted to the 10th floor.
Additional air samples were taken on Monday to help determine when employees can return to the top floor. Results of the tests were not available as of Tuesday afternoon.
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