Library could reopen Saturday after mold cleanup

Fairfield-librarymold

Fairfield Woods Branch Library is closed this week due to mold remediation. It is expected to reopen Saturday.

The Fairfield Woods Library is expected to reopen Saturday, Nov. 23, once mold has been cleaned from a room on the lower level.

Town officials stressed during a press conference Monday, Nov. 18, that air quality tests performed in conjunction with replacement of the roof of the branch library during August and September found mold levels in the area as acceptable, and not a threat to employees or the general public.

Mold levels in the air inside were less than those in the air outside the building, Director of Health Sands Cleary said.

A report, issued Aug. 8 by Hygenix, did point out areas of discoloration in a boiler room on the lower level.

Once the roof had been replaced, the contractor ServPro of Bridgeport was hired to remove the discolored material from the boiler room.

During that process, First Selectman Michael Tetreau said, the town was notified Nov. 4 of “more significant mold growth” on and behind the interior of the drywall.

At that point, Tetreau said, officials “immediately restricted” access to the basement, then closed the library until the mold was removed.

Neither employees nor residents were in danger between the end of the roof replacement and the removal of the drywall in the basement, Tetreau said, based on air quality tests performed after the roof replacement was complete. Air testing performed Nov. 7 also indicated that air quality was “acceptable” in occupied areas of the library, according to a release from the town.

Once remediation began, the library was totally closed.

Library employees usually stationed at Fairfield Woods are working at the main branch until the cleanup is complete, Tetreau said.

The timing of the work on the boiler room was driven by prioritization, Director of Public Works Joseph Michelangelo said. Replacement of the leaky roof, completed in September, was the first priority.

Library Director Karen Ronald said no library materials were damaged. The room is used to store overflow paper, she said, and items to be retained have been so marked so they can be cleaned and returned to the library.

Tetreau said money for the remediation is expected to come from the current Public Works budget. At this point, he said, the cost is unknown.

The reports can be downloaded from fairfieldpubliclibrary.org and fairfieldct.org.

The Hygenix report, according to a release from the town, also calls for replacing carpeting with tile, providing ventilation to the emergency access vestibule on the south side of the building, improving the fresh air intake on the HVAC system, and dehumidifying air in the basement, as well as “better housekeeping in all areas.”

Late fees are being waived, though residents may return books to the main branch on Old Post Road. Books can also be returned to the Pequot Library.

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