Archive for Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Mold invades police department

July 30, 2008

Walking into the Tonganoxie Police Department, employees and Tonganoxie residents are greeted with two things: familiar faces and a musty smell.

For years the Tonganoxie Police Department has been battling a mold and mildew problem in their stone and concrete basement. But three years after having all of the mold removed, Police Chief Kenneth Carpenter said it's coming back, and he wants to make sure the air quality isn't a danger to anyone.

"I'm getting complaints from people still that they smell something." Carpenter said. "We need to test if it's dangerous."

On Monday the Tonganoxie City Council will vote on a request from Carpenter to hire GPW & Associates to investigate air quality problems at the police station. In 2005 the city voted to have Kingston Environmental Services remove trash and mold from the basement for $7,600.

Rain is the primary culprit for the dampness in the basement. The old walls, built from stone and mortar, have many cracks that allow the water to leak into the department. During heavy rains, Carpenter said the sump pump isn't able to keep up with the water leak and at times he's seen up to two inches of water stay on the basement floor.

"Normally the floor is wet," Carpenter said. "Because we've had so much rain, the floor's never dried up."

Sandy Koontz, police clerk, said many of the employees have gotten used to the smell, but her son Andy, who has asthma and is allergic to mold, can't stay in the station very long before he begins to feel sick.

GPW & Associates will also investigate the air quality at city hall, which has a similar problem.

Carpenter said it would cost too much money to fix the basement walls, especially if the city has plans for a new building to replace the police station and city hall, which now resides in a 96-year-old house. But because budgets have been tight and the council keeps pushing back the new city hall project, his main goal is to keep his employees healthy.

"We just want to be on the safe side and want to check," he said.


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