Toxic mold at Spartanburg Courthouse still a concern after cleanup

SPARTANBURG, SC (WSPA) – The mold problem at the Spartanburg County Courthouse is not over. That’s the concern of the Clerk of Court, who says employees are worried the remediation has not cleaned up all the mold.

The remediation was supposed to have wrapped up in late September, but just last week, more toxic mold was found and work done to remove it over the weekend.

Tuesday Clerk of Court Hope Blackley showed us the latest area of the Spartanburg County Courthouse to undergo remediation, a section of interior wall near the employee entrance that was never in the original clean-up plan.

JMAC Environmental, the company overseeing the cleanup tells us no more remediation is planned, but when we sat down with Blackley in a musty smelling courtroom she noticed something wasn’t right.

“I can tell you, I’m going to have you test this area. There’s something in here that’s not making me feel well,” she said.

The most recent mold finding wasn’t by the remediation company, but a contract worker and also a private citizen who pulled back wall paper in two different spots. And testing showed there was toxic mold underneath. One of those areas was all around a water fountain near the employee entrance.

Through the Freedom of Information Act 7 News learned since remediation began in July, the county has received “45 workers compensation claims regarding potential mold exposure.”

“It’s been very disheartening and I still have occupants who work in this building who are still very concerned about exposure to mold that may be harmful to their health. At this point because we’re still finding mold, I think there should have been more done, more investigative work to be done,” she said.

JMAC President John McNamara says people need to stop pulling away wallpaper which acts as a protective barrier.

We asked McNamara how employees can trust the remediation, when even more mold was found last week that wasn’t in the initial investigation.

He replied, “It wasn’t airborn. If we do the testing and it’s not airborne, nobody’s being exposed to mold.”

McNamara says JMAC plans to give the County a full report on the cleanup by the end of November.

If McNamara and Blackley agree on one thing, it is that the mold issue in the 60-year-old building will not be going away, since it is likely to return because of building design issues.

As for cost, County Administrator Katherine O’Neill says the county “has not received all of the invoices related this project.”

7 News will continue to inquire about the scope of the cost, since the cleanup went beyond the original $300,000 remediation plan.

Looking forward, O’Neill says “The County is engaging the services of a facility programming and space needs consultant to assist us with planning for a new facility. The County’s aim is to have a new facility for judicial operations, possibly co-located with other county and municipal functions, within the next 3-5 years.”

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