Tuesday, March 9, 2004
Carmel on the Case: Mold Clean Up In School
In Broward County, millions of dollars are being spent to clean up mold in public schools. But Seven News has learned there's new mold growing in one classroom that was just rebuilt. Investigative Reporter Carmel Cafiero is - On The Case.
(WSVN) -- The mold clean-up at Indian Trace Elementary could hit the three million dollar mark.
Yet - new mold is growing in a classroom that has just been remediated.
Indian Trace Teacher Patty Debiase: "The room, it looks very nice."
The mold is in Debiase's classroom.
She says it started behind a baseboard and then began to go up the wall.
Debiase: "At one time I was sneezing so much that in the middle of a reading group I had a nosebleed. And I had a couple of kids in the clinic. Their eyes were itching. They were red."
Seven News obtained samples of the mold and brought them to John Pisani, a microbiologist at Micrim Labs.
John Pisani: "Well, let's see what we got."
He identified two molds common in South Florida.
Pisani: "Well, you have curvularia."
One of them, curvularia, can cause the kinds of reactions Debiase described.
Pisania says it should not be in new wallboard.
Pisani: "It wasn't left out in the rain was it - before it was put in?"That's the same question an Indian Trace parent had.
She supplied these pictures of building supplies being delivered at the Weston school - uncovered - in the rain.
Clearly - wallboard was on the truck and clearly - it was wet... A perfect combination for mold.
But the school district says that's not what happened here.
Assistant SuperintendentJim Notter: "Ultimately, the bottom line, the truck was delivering, but that was not the drywall for that school."
Jim Notter says he got a call and investigated the delivery.
He says the truck dropped off other supplies - not the wallboard.
However, he does admit there is new mold where it should not be… and why it's there is a mystery.
Carmel Cafiero: "How can this be happening again?"
Jim Notter: "Sincerely that's a good question. Clearly we've taken an aggressive approach to remediate based on industry standards."Notter says tests show no moisture in the wall and that - so far - the mold is limited to a two foot section of baseboard which will be cleaned up over spring break next month.
Debiase: "But I think enough is enough. This needs to be taken care of."
Jim Notter insists this one mold outbreak is not an indication of a massive problem. But there is no argument that it's got to go. And for the teacher and the students - who were moved out of the room after our questions - the sooner the room is cleaned - the better.
For more information or if you have a story for Carmel:
Call her in Dade at 305-627-CLUE
Or in Broward at 954-921-CLUE.