May 22, 2018
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Elevated spore count detected in Lincoln town office basement, officials say

Nick Sambides Jr. | BDN
Nick Sambides Jr. | BDN
Lincoln town officials told workers to stay out of the areas with mold until those portions of the Main Street building are declared safe.
By Nick Sambides Jr., BDN Staff

LINCOLN, Maine — The company testing to determine whether the basement under the town office has a mold problem detected an elevated — but not necessarily hazardous — mold spore count, officials said Friday.

Town workers, some of whom spent Friday moving records from the basement, were warned and will remain out of that area until further notice, Town Manager Ron Weatherbee said.

“We were advised not to go downstairs until we got the full report and were able to review it,” said Amanda Woodard, the town’s planning and code enforcement officer.

The full report on the tests done Wednesday by CES Inc. won’t be available until Sept. 5, said Dennis Kingman, a senior project manager at the company. He declined to give report details until then, saying that the company would have to compile all the test results and review them for the final report.

CES issued the warning as a precaution, Kingman said.

“‘Elevated’ doesn’t mean hazardous or nonhazardous,” Kingman said Friday. “In general, there were levels of certain types of mold spores that were in the basement not found outside or in other areas of the building.”

Mark Weatherbee, president of the local Masonic chapter that owns the building, said he looked forward to seeing CES’s result and took any potential finds seriously, but he would not be surprised if some small amounts of mold were found there.

“They need to process and do the due diligence to determine what the type of molds are and some of that,” Weatherbee said Friday. “There is mold everywhere. Most homes will have mold somewhere in warm conditions, but I am not putting down importance of determining the amount and type and if there is a hazard.”

The masons are having a mold sampler come to the office basement on Tuesday to conduct their own tests. Weatherbee said he feels “confident that the risks are probably small, that there is not a biohazard” in the basement.

Town Council member Curt Ring said town workers found in the basement what they described as a large amount of dark-colored mold — enough to overgrow a baseball hat left in the basement in July, the last time the council held a meeting there.

Mark Weatherbee, who Ron Weatherbee said is no relation, chided Ring and local media for making “a sensational, inaccurate assumption.” He said the alleged mold was nonhazardous “filamentary calcium carbonate crystals.”

An environmental monitoring specialist, CES handles at least 50 mold remediation or testing cases annually from Augusta north to Fort Kent, Kingman said.

CORRECTION: A previous version of this story failed to fully identify Town Council member Curt Ring.

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