Madeira Beach manager suspects mold in walls of City Hall

MADEIRA BEACH — City Hall may not be a "sick building" officially, but roof leaks and mold suspected to be building up in its walls are affecting the health of city employees.

"By 10 a.m. every Monday, I have allergy symptoms," Interim City Manager Bill Mallory told the commission Tuesday. "I am not going to declare it a sick building, but we do need to do some things."

The building, originally constructed in the 1960s and added onto several times in the 1980s, has a roof that is between 15 and 20 years old.

During the past year, according to Community Services director Mike Maxemow, the city has had to repeatedly repair leaks, particular around air conditioning equipment seals.

Those leaks are getting into some of the building's walls, where Mallory suspects mold is building up.

So far, rainwater is not obviously dripping through City Hall ceilings.

The City Commission conference room, where public workshops are often held, shows obvious evidence of damage inside the walls.

The city manager's office and a hallway where public records are stored are also affected.

"We are a little fearful of removing the blistering wallpaper and releasing whatever is back behind the walls," Mallory told the commission.

Instead, he said he will hire an outside company to survey the possible damage and health effects.

An initial survey confirmed the wall blistering, raising the possibility of mold accumulating in the walls. The next step will be to place monitoring equipment to measure and test the air for mold spores, said Mallory on Thursday.

When asked what kind of symptoms he has been experiencing, Mallory said he gets a runny nose and sneezes a lot when working, even though he spends most of his time in his fire station office. Mallory is the city's fire chief.

"I have an air filter in my office that helps," he said.

Other employees are complaining, as well, about the air quality in City Hall, he said.

Neither Mallory nor Maxemow thinks the roof needs to be totally replaced, but they agree that whatever is causing the leaks needs to be fixed.

Madeira Beach manager suspects mold in walls of City Hall 04/16/11 [Last modified: Saturday, April 16, 2011 5:31am]

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