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Toxic molds found in Wells Branch

Found in Municipal Utility District building

Updated: Wednesday, 04 Aug 2010, 3:15 PM CDT
Published : Tuesday, 03 Aug 2010, 5:10 PM CDT

Austin, Texas (KXAN) - Toxic mold is tainting the air at a local municipal utility district.

Mold samples from a Wells Branch MUD building have been identified as Stachybotrys and Fusarium .

Employees at the Wells Branch MUD at 3000 Shoreline Drive complained of various health problems, which some believe are related to the indoor air quality of the building. So the utility district hired Jenkins Environmental Consulting, LLC. (JEC) to conduct a limited mold assessment.

According to a report from JEC , the molds found “are indicators of wet, cellulose building materials and are known to have particularly potent toxins.”

Mold was found throughout the building, with extremely high concentrations of Stachybotrys found in the air conditioning system in the south side of the building, and elevated levels found in the employee break room.

Depending on the length and intensity of exposure, Stachybotrys can cause chronic fatigue, headaches, sneezing, rashes, chronic coughing, and other symptoms similar to allergic reactions.

All areas of mold found throughout the building require mold remediation, which is the clean up, removal, and prevention of mold growth in the building.

JEC did not collect samples from several other suspect areas, and did not conduct what they call an "intrusive investigation" because of budgetary limits. They recommend additional surface testing and a more thorough building assessment.

According to Chuck Walters, president of Wells Branch MUD, nine people work in the building, which is a repurposed residential building. Wells Branch was already looking into remodeling or replacing the building prior to the mold discovery.

Walters said they do not believe there is a need to vacate the building due to a health risk, but they will relocate any staff concerned about health or safety. The Wells Branch MUD board will discuss the report’s findings Tuesday night at its meeting and decide how to proceed.