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Parts of two York County-owned buildings will get new, more environmentally friendly fire suppression systems later this year under a contract approved by commissioners.

Under the $94,156 contract with Fire-X Sale and Services Corp. of Maryland, the fire extinguishing systems in the computer server rooms in the county's Judicial Center, 45 N. George St., and administrative center, 28 E. Market St., will be changed to Inergen-based systems.

The sprinkler system at the administrative center will also be updated under the contract, Scott Cassel, the county's director of facilities, told commissioners.

Commissioners approved the deal during their weekly meeting on Wednesday.

The system: The new systems will replace water-based ones.

The county opted for the Inergen system partially because it's "green" and because widely-used Halon-based systems are becoming increasing harder to come by.

In the 1990s, Halon production was halted and made illegal in most developed countries over concerns the chemical was contributing to the depletion of the Earth's ozone layer.

Despite that, Halon systems are still legal and in use throughout parts of the United States but only recycled Halon is sold.

While proponents of Halon say its safe for humans to come into contract with, 20 people aboard a Russian Navy submarine died in 2008 when its Halon system was accidentally activated.

Inergen, a mixture of nitrogen, argon and CO2, does essentially the same thing that Halon does, causing a chemical reaction to extinguish fires.

"It's greener. It's safe for the environment. It's safe for any employees who happen to be in the server room," Cassel said in an interview after the meeting.

Officials had hoped to also replace the system in server room of the county's human services building, 100 W. Market St., but doing that work would have driven the cost over budget, he told commissioners.

Cassel estimated it will cost about $50,000 to replace that system, and he said he'll include it in his budget for 2016.

— Reach Greg Gross at ggross@yorkdispatch.com.

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