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Mold still thrives in a high-rise, even after costly remediation

A public housing agency that operates a Dayton-area high-rise spent more than $100,000 to have water damage and widespread black mold growth cleaned from housing unit. However, despite the remediation, residents of the high-rise say that they are still having problems with mold growth.

The government-subsidized housing is managed by Greater Dayton Property Management. They say the spent approximately $122,000 to have the 14-story public housing building – Wilkinson Plaza – cleaned and repaired.

An environmental study revealed that mold and water damage had affected about 95 percent of the 200 units within the high-rise. It also found that the mold levels ranged from moderate to highly elevated in the common areas throughout the building.

The cause of the mold growth, it was determined was the result of leaks in the roofs and windows and a leaking sewage pipe in the building’s crawl space. Additionally, the air conditioners in each unit were draining into the walls, which caused condensation that leaked into the apartments below.

Despite the mitigation, residents of the public-housing building say that the problem has returned.

Pamela Moss, a resident of the high-rise, expressed her concern. “No one wants to live under these conditions, but there’s nothing else we can do,” she said. Moss lives on the first floor of Wilkinson Plaza. She’s lived there for more than nine years.

According to Moss, the mold problem has gotten progressively worse. She said that she no longer allows her 7-year-old daughter, who has a respiratory illness, to stay in her apartment because she’s concerned that mold spores in the ventilation system will affect her daughter’s health.

Moss’ boyfriend lives on the ninth floor of the apartment building. She says that there are splotches of black mold growth on the walls of his bedroom. She says that the mold seems to respond to bleach and that her boyfriend keeps a bottle of it on a shelf in his bedroom.

“There’s only so much you can do when it’s coming from inside the walls,” Moss said of the black mold growth in her boyfriend’s bedroom.

Black mold is considered toxic and is known to cause numerous health conditions. Symptoms of exposure to black mold include runny nose, itchy eyes, irritated skin, coughing, and chronic headaches, said Brian Huxtable, a public health official who works with the Dayton and Montgomery County’s air pollution section. Huxtable also said that toxic black mold can aggravate underlying respiratory illnesses.

While the mold levels in the Wilkinson Plaza were not high enough to cause illness, they could impact people who have pre-existing respiratory health conditions.

The roof, plumbing, and drywall were repaired. The walls and ceilings were also painted, and the heating and cooling units were repaired. Despite these efforts, mold continues to be a problem in the Wilkinson Plaza.

Mold Testing & Inspection Cincinnati has years of experience performing mold tests in housing facilities throughout the state of Ohio We strongly encourage anyone who believes mold is a problem in their home to have a comprehensive mold test performed. To speak with an MI&T representative, call 513.800.1401.