Mold cleanup under way at T.F. municipal bldg.

Tests reveal problem worse in basement police headquarters


Staff Writer

Tinton Falls has awarded a contract for the work involved in getting rid of a serious mold problem in the municipal building, especially in the basement where the police department has offices.

The $37,200 contract was awarded to Pinnacle Environmental Corp., Chatham. The company started the remediation process on Monday, according to Steven Pfeffer, the borough’s CFO.

Because of the emergency nature of the problem, last week the Borough Council approved a resolution authorizing Pfeffer to award a contract without public bidding.

Public officials discussed the mold problem during last week’s council meeting because they had a bit of a dilemma.

Merwin Kinkade, an environmental consultant with Veridian Inc., told the mayor and council that the firm had sent out four requests for proposals and gotten two responses with a wide discrepancy in the costs. The proposal from Pinnacle was quite a bit higher, but the company had already come out to assess the work and had stated that the remediation work could start immediately after the contract was awarded.

Test samples had already been taken by I.H. Consultants Inc., and the report confirmed that there is indeed a mold problem and a need to hire a company to clean it up as soon as possible.

Kinkade said samples were collected in various parts of the building and a report was prepared so that the firm was able to go out for proposals.

“We had difficulty reaching contractors because many of them have been mobilized to the Gulf [Coast] states,” he said.

Kinkade added that any contractor selected would have to be able to adhere to the work scope based on criteria prepared by the New York City Board of Health, which is the stiffest in the country,

Board President LuAnn Catlin asked Pfeffer if he had any idea what it was costing every day that the mold was not being cleaned up.

Pfeffer said it was minimal, even though the police have had to move around. He added that the borough insurance company had been there to look at the damage, but haven’t been heard back from as yet.

Kinkade introduced Uday Singh of I.H. Consultants Inc., the mold expert who did the testing and drafted the report. Singh said there was mold in the basement, in the captain’s room and the ladies’ room next to it, and some on the upper floor.

“In fact, there was a fair amount of water in the captain’s office from condensation from the air- conditioning unit, and there was visible mold growth. Analytic data came back suggesting a fairly serious problem,” Singh said.

He added that he did a nonintrusive, noninvasive inspection, but he was going to ask that up to four feet of drywall be removed in the basement for a deeper inspection.

He was waiting for a contractor to be hired, he said.

“The cost could go up if there is mold in the walls,” Kinkade added.

Catlin said the initial expense was just startup costs. “I know we all want to clean up the problem, but we don’t want to take the lower bid if they can’t start for two weeks,” she said.

Pfeffer said there are funds in the environmental, and building and grounds, budgets, but he anticipated a significant impact on the building and grounds budget, so there might not be enough in it.

“You would have to authorize an emergency appropriation,” he said.

On Monday, Pfeffer said that Pinnacle seems to think the job can be done rather quickly, but the company needed to get a better look around. The sheet rock and whatever carpeting is left in the basement is coming out, he said, adding, “They will be checking a couple of areas on the first floor where there is visible water damage.