The NBAF Facility has made a new hire recently that will focus on the safety and environmental aspects of the facility. One of the new members of NBAF is David Keffer, who is the Safety, Health, and Environmental Manager. Keffer spoke with KMAN about what drew him to the position.
“Their mission to protect agriculture to protect the agricultural industry is just really fascinating to me. Looking at the different agents that can cause problems and significant impact on the world globally food supply that’s really important”.
Keffer has a background with the Department of Defense destroying chemical agents, such as mustard and nerve gas. He has started up two different facilities for this purpose. Keffer also assured those who are worried about safety breaches within the facility.
“The whole NBAF design is designed around containment and being able to take care of those things inside the facility. Whether its waste or water or air, all of those systems are designed to exceed the environmental requirements and be maintained within the building.”
Keffer says while it will generate waste, they have processes to make sure there is nothing harmful in the waste before it leaves the facility.The NBAF Facility on the north side of Manhattan is almost a year away from some of its staff starting to move.Director of the National Ag Biosecurity Center Marty Vanier spoke with KMAN on some of the facility’s construction updates. She says the good news is the facility is still on schedule and on budget.
” Approximately 83% for those of you who are driving by you can see that the exteriors are going up so its gonna be a nice shiny lovely building. Walls and floors are going in on the inside because its a bio-containment lab you can’t have any defects in walls or floors or ceilings. Everything has to be essentially watertight and airtight.”
Vanier says a special coating needs to be applied to the walls and flooring in the facility, which needs to be applied in a clean room environment . They have have already started that process.
“Equipment’s being moved into laboratories and so as that’s happening equipment’s getting tested and getting commissioned. The building is going for lead certification which is an environmental 3rd party certification that basically talks about green building ratings. For this building to be able to achieve a lead certification is really amazing just given the size and complexity.”
Vanier says the facility has also almost reached the one billion dollar mark out of the budgeted 1.25 billion.