Ventilation fix suggested for building adjacent to pot-growing operation

An industrial hygienist conducted air-quality tests in the Grand Junction census office, and the census is asking the building owner to make changes to the building’s ventilation system.

The census also is bringing in workers from outside the office to complete distribution of census forms in rural areas and small communities such as Collbran and Mesa.

“The building owner has received recommendations to inject foam insulation into walls in affected units, to make changes to the air-duct systems and to install activated carbon filters into the environment,” census spokeswoman Deborah A. Cameron said Wednesday in a statement. “We strongly support these recommendations and are cooperating with the owner as needed.”

Census employees last week complained about fumes from offices in the same building at 573 W. Crete Circle.

Authorities discovered that medical marijuana was being grown in the building and that the census office and marijuana operation shared the same ventilation system.

Building owner Sid Squirrell also is the owner of the medical-marijuana-growing operation. He did not return phone calls from The Daily Sentinel.

Though the Census Bureau encouraged employees to take time off to see physicians and deal with workers’ compensation cases as needed, Cameron said the count effort, which kicks off April 1, wasn’t compromised.

The Census Bureau is “continuing to promptly comply with any changes requested by government organizations that have been brought in to evaluate the situation,” Cameron said.

Most American households have or will receive their census forms this week.

About 60 people do much of their work in the Grand Junction office, and more than 700 people work out of the Grand Junction office, Cameron said.


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