Summer Mold Growth in Schools

June 3, 2010
The hot, humid summer brought a rash of mold problems to Quad City area schools. At Cambridge Elementary School in Henry County, Ill., the mold growth is so severe that crews are working around the clock to clean up the problem before school begins Aug. 17. Meanwhile, Davenport and United Township school districts have done mold cleanup in several classrooms. Workers installing a geothermal system in the Cambridge school discovered the mold problem about two weeks ago. Akers said district officials had discovered the school’s roof had been leaking last fall, but could not find any contractors to repair it over the winter. The roof now has been repaired. Moisture settled in the space between the drop ceiling and the roof, and during the sweltering temperatures, mold formed. Akers said the district had the mold tested and it came back as stachybotrys mold, also known as black mold, a particularly toxic form of the substance. The district awarded a contract to Envirotech of St. Louis as quickly as possible to get rid of the mold. Work began Tuesday and will continue 24 hours a day until the problem is fixed. If the mold is not eradicated by the time classes are due to start, classes may be moved to churches or community buildings. The work is expected to cost $185,250, which does not include the cost of installing a ventilation system in the ceiling to prevent the problem from happening again. It also does not include the cost of new ceiling tiles. However, the district has pollution liability insurance with a $50,000 deductible. The deductible will be paid for out of a special fund the district created for health, life and safety risks. Meanwhile, mold also has been discovered at Buchanan Elementary School in Davenport. The Davenport School District got the go-ahead Wednesday to proceed with classes there, which begin today. After cleanup, an air quality test showed there were no unusual levels of mold at the school. The mold was found about two weeks ago and was confined to six classrooms. A team of custodians spent four, 13-hour days cleaning. District spokeswoman Laura Lortz said the mold was found in a portion of the building that was not air conditioned over the summer. The blinds were pulled and the doors were closed, creating an environment ideal for mold growth. The mold had grown on door knobs, under tables, on top of some books and on cork and felt boards. These are common problems for any building that does not get normal use (such as schools over the summer months). If your school has mold concerns, ask your school officials to address the concerns quickly as these schools did. If you believe professional mold removal and mold clean up is required, please contact EcoGuard Mold Solutions www.MoldIndiana.com