East Pennsboro schools address mold problems again

ENOLA, Pa. (WHTM) – The East Pennsboro Area School District is dealing with air quality concerns again. Mold issues last year closed schools and disrupted the start of classes, and a routine test last week revealed troublesome levels again this summer.

East Pennsboro Elementary School, East Pennsboro High School, and West Creek Hills Elementary School all tested for high levels of mold spores.

The district is working hard to clean things up before school starts in a week and a half.

“We had big issues last year,” assistant superintendent Gregory Milbrand said. “We want to be out in front of this. We want to be open, we want to be honest, we want to be transparent.”

Milbrand says mold was visible in at least three trouble areas.

“We were at a training at West Creek Hills. It was humid, and actually two teachers came up and said one of the ceiling tiles had a small area of what appeared to be mold on it,” he said.

Milbrand says West Creek had the most issues and the highest level of mold spore counts, which is why clean-up crews are already there disinfecting and filtering out the air system so kids don’t get sick when school starts.

John Staz, the owner of Enviroquest, a mold-removing company, says mold is pretty common in homes and commercial buildings. He adds that it’s especially tough to control in big buildings like schools.

“During the summertime, we have approaching 100 percent humidity all the time,” Staz said, “And all this rainfall, it’s really difficult to keep an exact balance with the HVAC system so you don’t get conditions where you get condensation and other conditions conducive to mold growth.”

Milbrand says it all boils down to that HVAC – the heating and air-conditioning system. Mold keeps forming because there’s not enough money to replace all of the equipment right now.

“The humidity controls on all our systems are antiquated,” Milbrand said. “They’re not fully functional. They’re not efficient.”

The district is going through a feasibility study which addresses the HVAC issues in all buildings.

The air will be tested again after clean-up at the end of the week. The district is confident the schools will open on time.

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