Image by Flickr user foshydog
Halon, it's a fancy name for the chemical that was often found until the late '90s in fire extinguishers, refrigerants, spray paints, and fire suppression systems for document storage.
It was cheap, didn't leave a residue on documents, and popular — unfortunately it was also rather bad for the atmosphere.
So when an emergency drill at the Charleston County Leeds Avenue records center went slightly awry the fire suppression system's 4,500 pounds of halon gas were vented, and now the county is a financial, environmental, and proactive pickle.
While no more of the halon gas is being made, existing supplies can — for now — be used to refill the system for just under $100,000 dollars but switching to a newer less eco-damaging system could cost $250,000.
For a report on the debacle I'll point you to The Post and Courier's report (read that here) and for a look at the green debate of the debacle I'll point you to the Charleston City Paper's report (read that here.)