Mold remediation underway at Dothan City Schools Central Office

Mold remediation underway at Dothan City Schools Central Office

Parts of the Dothan City School's Central Office have been closed after mold was found. (Source: WSFA 12 News) Parts of the Dothan City School’s Central Office have been closed after mold was found. (Source: WSFA 12 News)
DOTHAN, AL (WSFA) – Parts of Dothan City Schools’ Central Office are closed as the system treats mold.

School Board Chairman Mike Schmitz confirmed the system discovered the mold two weeks ago after an inspection.

“Dr. Edwards is doing an inspection of all the schools and central office,” said Schmitz.

“There wasn’t a lot of visible mold, but there were odors related to off gassing,” said Chris Rose of Wiregrass Environmental. “At that point, that’s what activated the evaluation.”

The building off Dusy Street is a former school built in 1921. According to the inspector, the mold may have been caused from water that accumulates in the parking lot from rain, impacting the building’s foundation.

“Working it’s way through the foundation into the building, that’s where all the water problems were at,” said Rose. “The parking lot didn’t probably used to be there and what it’s doing is allowing the water to hold under the building.”

Rose said the mold was found in the foundation’s crawl space which doesn’t cover the entire building, but he couldn’t confirm how much of the building is impacted.

The mold treated isn’t what’s advertised as the concerning and deadly black mold you hear about. But with any mold, there is always risk for health concerns.

“The molds that were of the most significant concern to us, they weren’t in the air in the occupied space. We felt they had a sufficient opportunity to get there so we made a responsible decision for that.”

As a precaution, the system made short-term accommodations, like moving some employees working at the building during the summer, and long-term accommodations as they address the mold.

“We called Mayor Saliba and asked if we could hold our meetings in his commission chamber and he agreed to that. We’re going to do that until we get the final report and feel comfortable,” said Schmitz.

Schmitz said at this point, no employees have reported falling ill because of the mold.

He said the system is also looking at some other buildings to move into in the future but have not made a final decision about that.

The inspector said the mold issue can happen in any building where there is the presence of water and they are moving forward to get it remediated.

The building will be inspected monthly for the next six months.

Elevated levels of mold, mildew found in air at east Fort Worth police station


Elevated levels of mold, mildew found in air at east Fort Worth police station

June 25, 2018 05:16 PM

Landlord says 60 people out of their homes due to his dispute with Lancaster City

Landlord says 60 people out of their homes due to his dispute with Lancaster City

People are out of their homes in Lancaster, and city officials said the mayor’s office is getting death threats. According to officials, it’s all related to the same housing issue that is believed to be the motive for an arson at City Hall.

The tenants all lived in properties owned by Dwain London Sr. He’s the father of one of the men charged with setting fire to the doors of City Hall just hours after a heated City Council meeting about those homes.

City officials have been looking into more than a dozen properties owned by London ever since a man was found dead after a fire in one of them. City inspectors issued 175 violations.

“People were living in one room that they were being charged $500 to live in,” said Matt Johnson, the mayor’s chief of staff. “Sometimes no access to bathrooms. We were finding jars of urine and hotplates that were huge fire hazards.”

Marie Chambers lived in one of the rooms for more than a year with her three children.

“We didn’t have smoke detectors,” Chambers said. “I was living with black mold in my room.”

London said he wasn’t aware of the problem. He said he was just trying to help families who otherwise couldn’t afford a home of their own.

“They’re living on an average of $700 a month income,” London said. “Where are they going to live?”

London also said he doesn’t know anything about the city staff getting death threats.

City officials said they’re working quickly to find safe and affordable homes for the people who have been displaced. Officials said there are even some city programs that will help pay for part of their rent.

Elevated levels of mold, mildew found in air at east Fort Worth police station


Elevated levels of mold, mildew found in air at east Fort Worth police station

June 25, 2018 05:16 PM

Fort Worth police officials had “voluntarily relocated” personnel from the building on June 11 over what a police official described as “environmental concerns.” A source told the Star-Telegram that employees had arrived to work on June 10 to find a black substance in parts of the building, including under at least one air vent.
On Monday, police spokesman Bradley Perez said two police department units are occupying the building.
“However, the decision was made to keep personnel out of the areas still under construction to expedite the renovation,” Perez said in an email.
In a memo sent to Assistant City Manager Jay Chapa on June 12, Property Management Director Steve Cooke described the black substance that concerned police staff as “dust that resulted from cleaning the HVAC duct work.”
He said a microscopy test performed on a sample of the substance showed the “presence of hair, dust particles, lint and similar items commonly associated with indoor HVAC return air.”
“Safety of all of our employees is of the utmost importance,” Cooke wrote to Chapa in the memo. “No data or visual observations have suggested a need to vacate the building. If molds — even black mold — are identified in homes or offices, industry standards do not call for evacuation — the mold is simply abated.”
The additional tests were done that same week to look for the presence of molds and other biological elements. The city received the results on Friday, Covey said.
Covey said no visible black mold has been found in the building.
The building at 3900 Barnett St., constructed in 1947, had been traded to the city by television station KXAS as part of an incentive agreement on a new complex the station built in the CentrePort Business Park near the Dallas/Fort Worth Airport.
Officers and police civilians have been housed there while renovations have been underway, including adding a new elevator and renovating the HVAC system.
Covey has said that since 2014, the city’s environmental quality department has repeatedly checked the building for possible asbestos fibers in the air, including after the black substance was found.
All those tests have come back negative, she has said.


Black mold discovered at Anthony Correctional Center


Black mold has been discovered at a correctional center in Greenbrier County, according to the State Division of Corrections.

The mold was found at the Anthony Correctional Center in its main building.

State Corrections Commissioner Betsy Jividen has decided to transfer 200 young-adult offenders to other correctional facilities while an inspection into the issue continues. According to the D.O.C., the women inmates will be moved to the Lakin Correctional Center in Mason County.

The men will be placed in the Parkersburg and Denmar correctional facilities in Pocahontas County.

Black mold found in correctional center

Black mold found in correctional center

The Herald-Dispatch

CHARLESTON – The Anthony Correctional Center, a prison created as a place for youthful offenders in West Virginia to receive education and job skills training, has relocated its inmates and employees after black mold was found at the facility.

The transfers were initiated by West Virginia Corrections Commissioner Betsy Jividen after she received initial findings from an ongoing inspection of the facilities, according to Lawrence Messina, director of communications for the West Virginia Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety.

The final inspection report will help authorities determine the best course for the future of the center.

The Anthony Correction Center is a minimum-security facility based in Greenbrier County. It houses about 200 young-adult offenders, both men and women, from West Virginia. The program takes anywhere from six months to two years to complete and gives educational courses to offenders, while also teaching them job skills applicable to the real world.

It was first built in 1965 as a federal Civilian Jobs Corps Center before the West Virginia corrections took over the property in 1970.

Initial findings identified a black mold in just one of the campus’ half-dozen buildings, which houses the administrative offices, facility kitchen gym and some housing units. With that information and the inspection continuing, Jividen concluded the transfers were needed, Messina said.

No staff or inmates have exhibited any symptoms of exposure to the mold, but all parties will be monitored in case symptoms appear in the future.

The women have been moved to the Lakin Correctional Center, while the men will be divided between the Parkersburg and Denmar facilities. The inmates will continue to receive the statutory education and training needed to complete the program.

About 100 staff members, including about a dozen Department of Education teachers, will also be moved to different facilities. Although, they will be moved to nearby facilities with the goal to avoid unnecessarily long commutes.

The Correctional division is sharing the inspection findings with the state Bureau for Public Health, which has also visited the facility. The Greenbrier County Health Department has also been notified, according to Messina.

Mold issues cause concern

Mold issues cause concern

Mold issues cause concern


Contributing Writer & Senior Writer

From January 2017 to March 2018, the UMW maintenance department received 47 reports of mold and mildew in various campus buildings, according to work orders obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request.

An analysis of these reports shows that the cases were not resolved in a timely fashion, even when students had health concerns. In addition, response times started slowing since the summer of 2017.

Of the 47 reports, 19 were completed. Another 19 were assigned, which means that an employee was given the case but the work orders were not yet complete.
Maintenance services at Mary Washington says the  assigned, but not completed, work orders is just a problem of documentation.

“I have good reason to believe that the work was in fact accomplished but we did not properly document the work performed in the current work management system. I came aboard UMW Facilities Services last fall and am now implementing a new work order management system for Facilities Services which should be “live” by Fall 2018. The new system will provide improved documentation of status and completion,” said Nolan J. Akau, director of Maintenance Services in an email.

But students complaining about mold have a different account. In at least one case a student claimed to have reported mold in their dorm three times before receiving a response from maintenance services. The student’s identity is unknown because of the Family Education Right and Privacy Act, which voided all student’s names from the FOIA.

“This is the third work order request we have submitted to have someone remove the black mold that covers 1/3rd of the ceiling in our dorm room. It has been there since we moved in Fall 2017, however, no one has come to look at it,” said an unnamed student living in Alvey Hall according to the work order filed on March 18, 2018.

The remaining nine reports of mold were rejected. In many cases, they were told that cleaning would take place in the summer. In the meantime, students were expected to live with mold until the end of the semester. This was in spite of the fact that many were experiencing health problems.

For example, an anonymous student who filed a report on April 10, 2017 had a work order rejected because it was filed at the end of the semester. The identity of the student is unknown because it was blacked out on the work order received with the FOIA.

“I haven’t been able to sleep in my room because it affects the way I breathe and it’s right under my bed,” said the unnamed student living in Virginia Hall according to their work order.

There were a variety of other reasons for rejection. One of the work orders from November 12, 2017 was rejected because the student living in the University of Mary Washington Apartments reported mold on the university-provided shower curtain liner.

“Housekeeping does not supply replacement shower curtains; curtain should be cleaned or replaced by the residents,” according to the work order rejection reason.

But in an email from Akau explaining maintenance procedures to remove mold, he stated the university does not clean the shower curtains. They replace the curtains instead. While the university did not replace the student’s shower curtain from the November 12 work order, the university did replace a shower curtain in Mason Hall, according to a different work order filed January 23, 2018.

In the 2017 to 2018 calendar year, the work order requests that were completed received a response time within an average of four days. This average does not include assigned work orders or the ones that were rejected. But since August 2017, the response times have been greatly lagging. Many of the reports of mold have been assigned, but not addressed. Of the 24 work orders filed between August 28, 2017 to March 18, 2018, only seven of them were closed and two were rejected. The other 17 work orders were assigned, but not completed. 

Out of the 47 reports, 13 of the cases were reported from Alvey Hall, which has more reports of mold than all other university housing and buildings. Eagle Landing has seven reports of mold, while the University of Mary Washington Apartments and Marshall Hall have reported four cases of mold each.
Akau said in an email that when a work order is placed by a student, it is then “reviewed by the work control technician and/or shop supervisors and assigned to one or more trades or divisions.”

The general procedure to remove and clean mold off of walls, floors, windows and AC vents is to first clean the affected area with Hill Manufactured Mildew Stain remover and a microfiber cloth.
After the surface is dry, maintenance then sprays the surface with the stain remover again. They then apply Anabec, which is an antimicrobial to seal and protect the surface from mold in the future.
The University of Mary Washington currently has 30 maintenance employees and 30 housekeeping personnel working for facility services. Additionally, the university uses over 50 outside contractors.

The outside contractors occasionally address mold in university housing and buildings.According to a study conducted in 2003, “Effects of Toxic Exposure to Mold and Mycotoxins in Building-Related Illnesses” exposure to mold can cause a variety of health problems. The study consisted of 61 females and 39 males, a total of 100 subjects who all had mold in their homes. The results showed that 64 patients exhibited respiratory problems.

Out of the 100 patients, 70 exhibited short-term memory loss and dizziness, these symptoms are associated with neurological symptoms. All of the patients exhibited immunological symptoms such as hypersensitivity to molds, foods and chemicals.

Some students have mold in their dorms and do not even know of its existence. For example, senior Alex Sakes, a political science major and business administration minor, found black mold next to his bed on move out day of his junior year while he was living in Arrington Hall. Sakes only discovered the mold after he removed the poster it was growing under. Sakes believed the mold grew because his walls regularly leaked and the mold was near his AC unit.

“Little did I know the entire year I was sleeping next to an entire wall covered with spores of black mold,” said Sakes.

After discovering the mold, Sakes filed a work order. The following academic year Sakes’s friend, 22 year-old ancient civilization major Sarah Attkisson, moved into his old dorm. Attkisson graduated in 2017. According to Attkisson in an email, there was a lot of mold in her room which was difficult to clean and always came back due to the heavy moisture in the building. Attkisson lived in Arrington from 2014 to 2015.

“It’s incredibly dangerous to put people in a mold-infested building. The school knew about the problem and the moldy building is still standing,” Attkisson said. “I think all past and present students who lived in the building while there was an active mold problem should be offered housing refunds and an apology.”

21 year-old Brooke Talkington, a Spanish major who graduated in 2017, had encountered mold in university housing. The incident with the mold occurred from September to October 2017. At the time Talkington lived in the UMW Apartments in building seven.

“In our experience the apartment above ours had issues with their shower draining, causing water to pool in our ceiling where mold grew and a section of the ceiling eventually collapsed,” said Talkington in an email.

Talkington and her roommates filed a work order. However, they did not receive a response after three days and went to their RA who submitted another work order and contacted the area coordinator.

“The shower in the apartment above us was fixed within days but it took about 3 weeks for maintenance to come replace our ceiling. My roommates and I were understanding that they are busy and there are other people on campus with issues, but we felt that it took a really long time considering the fact that mold is a health issue,” said Talkington.

The Blue & Gray Press published two stories on the topic of mold in dorms back in 2015. One article was based on an incident in Alvey Hall and the other was about Eagle Landing. As a result of these articles, the newspaper received several other complaints from students who had experienced mold in their dorms. The paper did not follow-up on the issue until now.

According to Akau’s email, the University of Mary Washington is currently searching for options to improve preventive measure to reduce mold issues in the future. The university also plans on renovating the older buildings.

“UMW is evaluating additional repairs for Alvey this summer,” said Akau. “However, while, occurrences may be reduced, complete prevention is not a realistic expectation.”

LATEST: Wellington tears down house filled with toxic mold

LATEST: Wellington tears down house filled with toxic mold

Posted: 2:42 p.m. Monday, April 16, 2018

Where once there was a multifamily home riddled with mold, by Saturday evening there were piles of rubble

A contractor hired by Wellington began Friday to demolish a property the village had determined was unsafe after inspectors found high levels of mold, including Stachybotrys, better known as toxic black mold.

The mold was visible under sinks and behind kitchen cabinets in the White Pine Drive property’s four units, but a mold remediation specialist hired by Wellington found evidence of moisture in the exterior walls — a sign of larger structural issues, officials said. The village made the decision to demolish in January.

BG Group started its work Friday evening and continued through Saturday, Wellington building official Jacek Tomasik said. He visited the site Monday morning as crews loaded chunks of concrete, steel, drywall and other debris into trucks.

Two pieces of wall still were standing. “You could clearly see how much mold-like material was on the exterior walls,” he said. “There was at least half an inch of mold-like debris.”

Tomasik was in the pair of attached buildings several times before they were demolished and said he had trouble breathing while walking through the units. He was concerned when he saw children in the homes.

“I didn’t feel good about them living there,” he said. “I think we did the right thing.”

This is the third private-property demolition for Wellington. The most recent, “the blue tarp house,” a multi-family home formerly at 13932 Folkstone Circle known for the blue tarps that covered parts of its roof for years after the hurricanes of 2004 and 2005, was demolished in 2014.

Tomasik expects the total cost of the demolition to go a little above $30,000, which will be placed as a lien on the property. Once the concrete is removed, crews will make sure the land is level before adding sod or grass seed to complete the project, Tomasik said.

The property is owned by West Palm Beach-based AIG Enterprise Corp., but Wells Fargo Bank began foreclosure proceedings last year, court records show.

Since February, village attorney Laurie Cohen has been working through the courts to notify both the bank and AIG of the plans to demolish. A Palm Beach County judge approved an April 6 deadline for the bank to provide Wellington with plans to completely clean up the mold, but the bank missed the deadline.

Cohen said the property owner also had that amount of time to submit plans. AIG corporate officer and property manager Isaac Antoine submitted a permit application and payment before the April 6 deadline, but there were no plans with the permit and the check bounced, Wellington building officials said last week.

Antoine then submitted plans to redo tile in the kitchens and bathrooms, but those plans were not sufficient to deal with the extent of the mold, officials said.

“Both the bank and the property owner had more than ample opportunity to come in with some plans, and neither did,” Cohen said.

Courthouse closes for “black mold” remediation

Courthouse closes for “black mold” remediation


Hopes of keeping the Monroe County Courthouse open for business while mold remediation takes place were dashed Monday evening with the announcement that the entire building would be closed from Wednesday through the end of the week.

In a brief statement, County Commission President Shane Ashley apologized to the public for the inconvenience of the building’s closure and stated that the courthouse would reopen “for regular business” on April 16.

Earlier in the day on Monday, just as work on the remediation began, Monroe Circuit Judge Robert A. Irons issued an administrative order closing all of the courthouse’s judicial offices. All of those offices, along with the assessor’s office, several restrooms, two hallways and the historic building’s attic, were cited in a report from InspectRite Services Inc. as being “contaminated and in need of full remediation.”

InspectRite’s Roland S. Jones warned county officials in a undated letter addressed to County Clerk Donald Evans that “considerable containment” of the affected areas would be necessary during the remediation process due to the increased risk of exposure to the contaminants as walls and ceilings were opened, disturbing the mold.

“Obviously, each specific area being remediated must be totally vacated during remediation,” Jones wrote in that letter.

Among the contaminants identified by InspectRite’s testing was stachybotrys — more commonly referred to as “black mold” — which is quite common in buildings and homes, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

“Standards for judging what is an acceptable, tolerable or normal quantity of mold have not been established,” the CDC says.

In an online summary, the CDC rejects the term “toxic mold,” saying while certain molds can produce toxins, the molds themselves are not poisonous. But even though molds like stachybotrys and the others (chaetonium, aspergillus and rhincladiella) identified as being present in the Monroe County Courthouse are not inherently toxic, common sense dictates that such contamination should be eradicated, the CDC says.

People who are sensitive to molds may exhibit symptoms when exposed to contamination, according to the CDC. Symptoms may include stuffy nose, wheezing and red or itchy eyes or skin. Severe reactions may include fever and shortness of breath, and exposure to mold or dampness may also lead to asthma in some sufferers.

Arcola city workers evacuated after mold found in building

Arcola city workers evacuated after mold found in building


City workers in the small town of Arcola are trying to figure out next steps after being told to leave city hall last month because of mold found inside the building.
“We can’t do anything. Traffic tickets, nothing. We can’t operate the city,” said Mayor Mary Etta Anderson over the phone Monday.
Three types of mold, including black, were discovered in the building in January after staff workers continued to fall ill. City workers were told to leave in late March and have not been back in the office since then. Arcola, made up of about 2,000 people, sits next to Fresno and about 25 miles southwest of Houston.
City council members first were made aware of the mold in January, but have yet to agree on how to come up with a financial solution to the problem. City council members could not be reached for comment as of Monday afternoon.

Some city workers contacted attorney LaShawn Williams, whose office sent notices to the city, to allow the employees to work from home or take time off due to the health conditions. She said employees contacted her after complaining of rashes, headaches and hair loss.

Arcola Police Chief Brandon Torres, whose department is composed of seven officers, said his employees had symptoms from the mold . City staff members were also getting sick and frequently going to the doctor, according to Anderson who calls the situation “disheartening.”
“It’s alarming to me that we bring these concerns to city council and they don’t have the same passion to get our staff out of this building and do something about it,” said Torres. “As a police chief, I’m limited in what I can do. My goal is to protect our staff, so that they can be here for the city.”

Anderson, who first became mayor in 2008, said two trailers are going to be set up in front of city hall, so that workers can have a safe environment until the mold problem is resolved.

“I know Mayor Anderson is good person and she cares about the citizens and the people that work there. I know she is doing the best she can do,” said Williams. “Who I blame is the city council. I think this falls squarely at their feet.”
Williams said that city workers are still unsure of the full health hazards they may have suffered as a result of the mold. Torres thinks the slow response from council members could be their lack of exposure to the building.
“I think sometimes people don’t realize how much it has impacted us because they’re not being exposed to it as well,” said Torres. “City council comes there once or twice a month compared to our officers and staff. We’re in there all day.”
In the meantime, Torres said he’s reaching out to neighboring police agencies for help and his officers are still responding to emergency calls in progress.
“Where do our officers go to file a police report? Where do they go to file their citation? These are some of the challenges that we’re currently facing that we’re trying to overcome,” said Torres.