Aquebogue students posed with some of the books they read over the summer in 2017. Courtesy photo: Riverhead Central School District

The air and environment in Aquebogue Elementary School are safe for occupancy and there is no “chronic, long-term moisture problem” in the building, a representative of the school district’s environmental consulting firm told the school board at its meeting last night.

“There are no airborne mold concerns within the building,” Ed McGuire of J.C. Broderick and Associates said.

School superintendent Dr. Aurelia Henriquez said she asked the company to make a presentation to the board about the mold and mildew condition at the Aquebogue school that district staff worked over the weekend to remediate.

McGuire told the board the conditions at Aquebogue were a result of the “exceptionally hot and humid” weather conditions during the months of August and September. Those conditions allow “a minor amount of mold to grow on various surfaces,” McGuire said.

“Two dozen school districts we’re working in across Long Island this year” have similar situations in numerous buildings, he said.

Mold remediation requires as a first step to identify the source of the moisture. “In this case, it is the outside environment,” McGuire said.

We were in the building on Monday testing every space in the building, McGuire said. “We had good results in the reports that were received today,” he told the board.

Wednesday afternoon, in a written statement responding to questions by RiverheadLOCAL emailed to the superintendent that morning, the school district said two classes had been relocated from “classrooms most negatively impacted by odors” in order to conduct additional cleaning.

“The district has decided to err on the side of caution,” the statement said. “We have relocated the classes to other spaces within the building.”

“Beginning this evening, the district is bringing in an industrial cleaning and remediation company to reclean those two spaces as well as reclean the filters and vents of each air conditioner in the school,” the district said in the statement sent by the district’s public relations firm, Syntax. 

“That process is expected to take several evenings,” the statement said.

In response to a question about whether there was a leak in the roof two years ago, the district said in the statement that officials “are not aware of any roof leaks at Aquebogue now or in the recent past.”

It said there was a heating system pipe repair “in the plenum of one classroom this summer.” A leak in that pipe caused a ceiling tile in the classroom to be damaged, requiring replacement.

“Condensation in heating or drain pipes may also be the source of periodic and episodic ceiling tile staining,” the district said in the statement.
“The procedures followed here are in line with EPA recommended procedures for these types of events,” the district said in the statement.

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Denise is a veteran local reporter, editor, attorney and former Riverhead Town councilwoman. Her work has been recognized with numerous awards, including investigative reporting and writer of the year awards from the N.Y. Press Association. She is a founder, owner and co-publisher of this website.Email Denise.