Success Story – Snoqualmie Valley SD High School Lab Transformation

Last year wasn’t an easy year, especially not for school districts responsible for staff and student health and safety on their premises. Let’s start the new year off on a positive note by featuring a significant success story from 2020 to encourage continued safety efforts despite COVID challenges.

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Snoqualmie Valley is a beautiful, green, small town stretching along the river at the foot of Mount Si. The old Mt. Si High School building held a large inventory of old, highly hazardous, unidentified – and frankly scary – chemicals in the lab (photo 1). The new science teachers joining the staff were rightfully alarmed by what they “inherited”.

The cleanout and proper disposal of hazardous waste before the eventual move to the new Mt. Si building was a long, multi-year process that could happen only through sustained collaboration among District Chemical Hygiene Officer (CHO) Sierra Rothlisberg, Director of Operations Bill Davis, and Purchasing Agent Shawn Halawin (photo 2).

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During my 2020 follow-up visit, I was amazed by how well organized the new lab was (Shelves below photo 3).

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I applaud the CHO’s explicit guidance to science colleagues and assistants (Signage in photo 4), and the fact that hazardous waste accumulation is down to ONE small container per year! (CHO, Sierra Rothlisberg photo 5).

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Now the new, state of art high school holds no dark chemical secrets.  Great collaborative effort. Thank you, Snoqualmie Valley Team for putting safety first!

Elizabeth Jakab, Industrial Hygiene Consultant

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