Air gets scrubbing after mold found in two Sparta schools

Sparta. HVAC units at the Helen Morgan and Alpine schools, the apparent culprit in causing the mold, are being replaced.

Sparta /
| 30 Jul 2021 | 01:32

The Sparta Township Public School District will scrubbing the air in two elementary schools this week after mold was discovered behind old HVAC units.

Superintendent Matthew Beck said mold was discovered behind six HVAC units as they were being replaced in the Alpine school, with a similar project going on in the Helen Morgan annex.

“It was evident that it was caused by the HVAC units,” Beck said.

Beck said the district notified the community that the problem was being immediately rectified under the guidance of environmental consultants.

The moldy sheetrock was removed, he said. Workers made sure the beams behind it were cleaned and then sealed properly to remove the mold from the building.

“There was never any reason to believe the mold had existed anywhere else outside the specific areas,” Beck said. “It was evident it was caused by the HVAC units.”

The district brought in air scrubbers. Air scrubbing is recommended for 72 hours, but Beck said the district will scrub for 96 hours.

Once the air is scrubbed, the assumption is there will no longer be any mold in the air, he said.

After the scrubbing, the district will test the air quality to make sure it is free of mold.

Beck said the process was slightly delayed because the company the district works with was using air scrubbers elsewhere in the county, but were expected to arrive in the district on Friday.

“From the moment we discovered the mold, we were taking it very seriously and making it a top priority at the time,” Beck said.

The district also will run additional air tests in those buildings outside of the specified areas and will run the random air quality tests in other district buildings.

He also proposed making this an annual summer practice.