City introduces program to reduce radon gas exposure

Guelph, ON, August 20, 2015 – Starting September 1, the City will implement the Radon Gas Mitigation Program for all new buildings constructed in Guelph.

“Radon gas exists everywhere, including in Guelph,” explains Rob Reynen, Manager of Inspection Services, Building Services. “The Radon Gas Mitigation Program aims to address potential exposure to radon gas and reduce health risks to building occupants in our community.”

Radon gas mitigation measures must be implemented in compliance with the Ontario Building Code for certain building permits applied for after August 31, 2015.

As part of the new program, a builder must put in place one of three radon gas mitigation options when constructing a new low-rise residential dwelling in Guelph:

  • Option #1: a rough-in soil gas pipe and mandatory radon gas testing
  • Option #2: a soil gas barrier on the foundation walls and basement floor slab, with voluntary radon gas testing
  • Option #3: a soil gas barrier on the foundation walls, and an active sub-slab depressurization system, with voluntary radon gas testing

Based on the radon gas mitigation option chosen by the builder, a home is subject to either mandatory or voluntary long-term radon gas testing. To encourage home owner participation, the City will pay for all radon gas testing this winter and next.

The City also requires all low-rise residential additions that exceed 20 metres square and multi-residential, commercial, institutional and industrial buildings to be designed and constructed in accordance with the radon standards in the Ontario Building Code.

The Ontario Building Code regulates new construction only and does not contain retrofit requirements for radon gas.

To learn more about radon gas testing and mitigation in existing buildings, including houses, apartment buildings, schools, malls and offices, please contact Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health or Health Canada.

About radon gas

Radon is a colourless, odourless and tasteless radioactive gas that forms when uranium in soil, rock and water breaks down. Radon gas seeps into homes and buildings through cracks and holes in floors and foundations.

According to Health Canada, long-term exposure to radon is linked to roughly 16 per cent of lung cancer deaths in Canada, and is the second leading cause of lung cancer after smoking. Canada’s radon guideline is 200 becquerels per cubic metre (Bq/m3).

For more information

Rob Reynen, Manager of Inspection Services
Planning, Urban Design and Building Services
519-822-1260 extension 2386