The Herald, Sharon, Pa.

January 10, 2014

Missing cap let water into court, causing mold

By Joe Pinchot
Herald Staff Writer

FARRELL — A missing aluminum cap is blamed for most of the moisture infiltration in the Farrell district court building, Mercer County Commissioner John M. Lechner said.

The cap was supposed to cover “a shared block wall between the two sides of the structure,” he said. “Over time, water got down in the wall and started the mold growth.”

The court staff temporarily moved Dec. 9 to the Farrell City Building because of the mold.

The court building at 425 Idaho St. has two suites, with the suite on the west side used as a courthouse and the other used for storage.

County workers have removed building materials in the courtroom and the judge’s office that were known to be contaminated by mold, or could have been marred, Lechner said.

Workers also will pull down ceiling tile in the administration office area “as a pre-emptive measure,” he said.

A specialist was to be in Thursday to determine what areas have to be sealed with a special material that prevents mold growth, Lechner said.

“After sealing, all removed materials will be replaced,” he said. “Not sure of a final timeline but doing it right is more important than haste at this point.”

Most of the work moving the court’s operations and tearing out contaminated material has been done by existing county staff during regular work hours, Lechner said.

“Not sure of future cost, but we will need ceiling tiles, flooring, sealing, duct work cleaning and a few other things,” he said.

The county bought the building in 2001 and dealt with a mold infestation problem shortly after workers moved in. Mold returned in 2007 and the court operation moved to the Farrell City Building for a time until a cleanup was completed.