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Mold issue surfaces again


Mold and other needy repairs was again the topic when mayors met for their monthly meeting the Electric City council chambers.

The Regional Board of Mayors have tried several times to get action to remove mold and make other repairs at the Delano Regional Transfer Station operated jointly by the four municipalities.

The “black mold” is inside the walls in at least two offices and elsewhere, and is there because of moisture problems where rooms were not dried properly, according to JRCC, a restoration service firm.

Twice the four mayors have held discussions on obtaining bids to correct a list of problems at the transfer station, only to be thwarted by councils that were not ready to approve the cost of the repairs.

Now the mold and repair problem fix has moved to possibly March next year, and the cost part to the Regional Board of Mayors’ 2018 budget, meaning workers will have to breathe the air in their work areas for another five or six months.

The initial list of problems at the transfer station was provided by an insurance report that stated the repairs needed to be done within 60 days. That was in the spring.

JRCC (Just Right Cleaning & Construction) provided a report on the mold problem back in May. Its recommendation was to remove drywall up to two feet from the floor or until there is clearance of microbial growth (mold).

Other called-for repairs in addition to the mold include asphalt repair, drainage, floor drain and catch basin work, removal of a shower stall, shelving installation, removal or replacement of a metal door and hardware, removal or replacement of a roll-up door, repair of siding and roof, installation of insulation in shop, removal of a hot water tank and replacing it with a tankless system, removal and replacement GFCI outlets, installation of emergency and exit lighting and removal and installation of new shop lighting.

The Regional Board of Mayors received a bid of $54,904 from DWK Fowler Construction to address the list of concerns from the insurance company, and particularly the mold problem, but two of the mayors, Paul Townsend of Grand Coulee and Gail Morin of Elmer City, said they would have a tough time getting the approval of their councils, even though all four mayors agreed that some of the repair items caused an unsafe work environment for workers.

John Neff, environmental health manager at Grant County Health District, stated last week that breathing air where mold is present could be a “health risk.” He said that mold releases spores that become airborne.

Transfer station operator Randy Gumm, whose office is affected, had “no comment” concerning the mold problem.

In an effort to bypass the cumbersome way that mayors need to deal with getting things done, Electric City’s clerk, who manages the transfer station books, said he put the cost of repairs in the budget for 2018.

Mayors need approval from their respective councils in order to OK bids or do anything where money is concerned. By the time the issue circulates the four cities and towns more than a month can pass.

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Reader Comments

Ronald Richards writes:

The mold problem at the landfill can be reduced considerably if concentrated bleach in a spray bottle is used. This may have already been done, but if not this will knock back the surface mold. Thus the exposure to the mold spores by the workers will be reduced. This will only take care of the visible mold, but it will help until a contractor is hired to remove all the mold.

Ronald Richards writes:

The use of concentrated bleach in a spray bottle to knock back the mold at the landfill has likely already been tried. If not this is a very effective way to kill the surface mold and reduce the employees' exposure. Governments at all levels move slowly, so this should protect the workers from most of the spores until the real abatement of mold begins.