The county has begun remediation measures on a planned storage facility and day-care center for county employees because several potentially hazardous substances have been detected in the building.

Asbestos, lead paint and radon were found in an inspection of the former Kingdom Hall building on Greenwood Avenue in Westminster, a facility once used by a Jehovah's Witness congregation. The county purchased the building and 1.6 acres of surrounding property last spring for $500,000.

Lead paint can cause brain damage if ingested. Radon is a naturally occurring, odorless, colorless gas emanating from the ground and asbestos is used in building materials as insulation. Both are recognized as carcinogens.

The county already spent about $6,000 to remove the asbestos, said Keith Kirschnick, assistant public works director. It sent a proposal to the state Department of Human Resources for an estimate to have the lead paint removed, he said. It spent about $250 to have sealing work done in the basement to prevent radon from seeping in.

Lead paint must be removed under state regulations for day care centers.

County officials did not plan to use the building as a day care center when it was purchased, said Kirschnick. The purchase was made more to obtain the property, adjacent to the County Office Building, rather than the building, he said. The property eventually will be used for the expansion of county offices, but no specific plans have been made, he said.

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