Black mold takes over police station

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A case of sniffles leads to the air conditioning system as the culprit

By Lou Elliott Jones, Editor

It was the sniffles that broke the case.

Folks at the Chiefland Police Department were getting sick. Regularly.

The folks at Zyrtec and Claritin were counting their profits from all the pills being taken to relieve the sniffles.

After many visits to the doctors someone suspected something was foul in the air.

It was Bill Hammond, city planning, building and zoning director, who delivered the final diagnosis: “You’re building’s stagnant.”

“All my people keep getting sick,” said Police Chief Robert Douglas, nicknamed “Sniffles” by the city commissioners.

The culprit was black mold and heavy dirt buildup in the air handling system and ductwork in the police and building offices.

The solution is replacing the police department’s central heat and air unit and the ductwork, and cleaning the building department’s ductwork.

In the midst of getting quotes for the cleanup and/or replacement for the equipment, the city learned that one of the bidders, Spann’s Heating and AC, installed the system in the police building. And while the unit had a service warranty still in effect, it did not cover all of the repairs and replacement that might be needed.

Spann’s bid to clean the air units and replace the infected ductwork was $3,150. The bill for the complete replacement of the air units and ductwork, including UV filters to keep the mold from returning was $9,950.

Southern Air Systems bid to clean the two 3-ton units at the police building, replace the ductwork and install a UV filter that was larger than the current one for $7,800.

All Seasons Heating and Air Conditioning did not bid on cleaning. It went with two options for replacement: a) replace the units and ductwork and UV lights, for $11,060; or b) replace the two units with one 5-ton unit, replacing the duct work and installing the UV lights for $9,808.

The bill is $930 for the building department to clean the unit and ductwork.

The city gets some benefit as the new 5-ton unit will use one-third less energy than the two 3-ton units.

The police department’s officers and employees will also save money on doctor visits and pills.

And Commissioner Rollin Hudson is happy his “shop local” campaign has a small victory.

All Seasons is located in Chiefland.