A team of consultants hired by Orange County, NY to inspect their Government Center concluded that there had been $10.5 million in damage from a storm last September, which was solid evidence to County Executive Ed Diana that they needed a new building—a building which would cost $75 million to complete.

There has been an ongoing conflict about whether to renovate or replace the Government Center. The FEMA inspectors did their investigation in January, but the findings were not released until the vote last Thursday on the $75 million building, which failed by 3 votes.

Although the inspectors hired by the County found high levels of mold in the building, the FEMA mold specialist contends that the County’s inspectors used inappropriate sampling and analysis methods to achieve their findings. Apparently, the original inspectors banged on the walls to loosen mold before measuring. Loosening the mold elevates the number of spores in the air enormously, skewing air samples much higher. They also failed to compare the amount of mold inside the building to the amount outside the building, which was higher.

There is no doubt that there is mold in the Orange County Government Center, some from water damage that occurred on the 3rd Floor during the September storm, some from a renovation project in 2009 and some from the dirty ducts in the building. FEMA will help with the storm damage, but they will not step in to pay for mold that has spread due to improper or delayed maintenance. They contend that roof is in the same condition after the storm as it was before and water which leaked from the storm was due to not doing necessary roof repairs.

We cannot stress enough that prompt attention to any water leakage into a building, whether storm related or from the water system, is essential to preventing mold growth. Mold will grow literally anywhere there is moisture. You can’t avoid it, but you can prevent it’s spread by making sure that leaks are repaired and damp areas are dried out as quickly as possible.

Alliance Environmental Group offers mold remediation services for times when mold has attained a toehold in a structure and also ThermaPureHeat for drying out water damaged buildings and building materials before mold can grow. Our Indoor Air Division, AirTek, can also keep your ducts clean and mold-free!

Remember, if you can see evidence of mold, the problem is much worse where you cannot see it! Don’t leave mold to damage your building—and your health—for another minute! Contact Alliance anywhere in California for help with structural mold issues!

Everyone at Alliance Environmental Group hopes that you and your mom had a wonderful Mother’s Day!

Wendy Stackhouse is the Online Community Manager for Alliance Environmental Group and AirTek Indoor Air Solutions. We welcome your comments! For more news and tips or to ask questions of our experts, Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter! For updates on indoor air challenges, Like us at AirTek on Facebook!