BRADENTON -- The city of Bradenton is spending more than $160,000 to remove mold contamination at the Bradenton Police Department.
The final bill is expected to be much higher, as clean-up crews uncover more areas of the building with mold.
After an air-conditioning unit failed last October near the SWAT room within the Bradenton Police Department, public works ordered some samples taken to ensure there had not been a buildup of mold within the duct work that could potentially spread to the other parts of the building.
Those samples tested positive, according to Jim McLellan, manager of the city's engineering section.
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"We didn't find black mold, just an indication of moisture and hired an environmental consultant to come up with a remediation plan," said McLellan.
According to a series of emails obtained by the Bradenton Herald, the process to hire a contractor and get work started took some time. McLellan said work began last week, "and they are finding more mold in some other areas."
Wright Way, a Venice-based water removal and mold remediation company, was awarded the bid for $160,134. Because the mold appears to be spreading, McLellan said the initial costs are expected to rise by as much as 50 percent.
"As part of the work, they are going in and isolating certain work areas and we've been coordinating with the police department," said McLellan. "As they get to areas where police officers are working, they are being moved or working from their vehicles."
McLellan said any office affected by the mold is being emptied and all furniture moved to the auditorium. Everything is being cleaned with a solution before any furniture or other items are returned back to the office.
"There are no health risks associated with this species," he said. "Basically the report says the species detected would only be a health hazard to the very young and elderly."
The police department building was put into service in 1998. McLellan said the air unit that failed was the original, "so it was approaching the end of its lifespan at 20 years old."
The original scope of work includes emergency clean-up, disinfecting office contents and mold remediation. Work was expected to wrap up soon, but with more mold being found, a timeline for completion is unclear.
Mark Young, Herald urban affairs reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7041 or follow him on Twitter @urbanmark2014.