The air quality in a unit of the Manor House complex, a new affordable housing development on Accabonac Road in East Hampton that has been beset by safety problems, has significantly improved after modifications made to the heating, ventilation, and cooling system reduced the levels of the volatile organic compounds previously detected there, according a report Friday from FPM Group, an engineering firm hired by East Hampton Town.
The first occupants of the development, which is the first affordable ownership opportunity provided by the town, had been expected to move in before the end of 2019.
The compromised air quality was first discovered at the 12-unit condominium complex last fall. "The town initially suspected the concentrations of V.O.C.s were related to the off-gassing of construction materials and it was expected that the indoor [air quality] would improve within a few months," the report said. However, several subsequent tests, including the most recent one in August, found that V.O.C.s remained elevated.
A modification of the unit's HVAC system to allow for outside air ventilation, and other improvements in the basement, resulted in improved air quality in the unit, the report said. The improvements included the installation of an exhaust fan, a dehumidifier, a high-efficiency air filter on the furnace, a sump pump to remove condensation, the relocation of the water heater and HVAC intake and exhaust, and the reconfiguration of ductwork.
An air quality test conducted on Oct. 6 found that V.O.C. concentrations had decreased to levels "below laboratory detection limits, indicating that the modifications . . . were successful," according to the report.
Given the success, the town has now begun making the same modifications to the other units, said Tom Ruhle, the director of the Office of Housing and Community Development.