JBSA leaders discuss mold remediation in dorms, way forward
Story by Lemitchel King on 08/05/2019
JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-LACKLAND, Texas — As part of the 502nd Air Base Wing’s effort to address the mold situation in barracks, ships and dorms, JBSA leaders continue to ask residents to up-channel their concerns for resolution.
Brig. Gen. Laura L. Lenderman, 502nd Air Base Wing and Joint Base San Antonio commander, stressed the command is committed to transparency and regaining the trust of residents.
“Trust and transparency are my ultimate goal and I need to rebuild the trust and ensure we have transparency so we can eradicate this issue,” she said.
Among the nearly 27,000 total work orders submitted to civil engineering each year across the joint base, plumbing and air conditioning work are both considered emergency requests as they both contribute to mold growth. There are 77 dorms across JBSA, with 27,000 bed spaces.
“We are focused on the three things that could create mold temperature, humidity and air ventilation,” Richard Trevino, 502nd Civil Engineer Group director, said. “As long as we maintain those, the presence of mold will no longer have the opportunity to grow.”
To reduce humidity and improve air ventilation, Trevino explained that after remediation, steps include ensuring heating, ventilation and air conditions systems are properly working, as well as installing dehumidifiers, exhaust and ceiling fans.
“We are completing 100 percent inspection on all rooms,” he said. “If we have rooms that are suspected to have mold, we assess, remediate and if the room requires repairs in terms of HVAC, moisture or humidity, we make those repairs. We are following the same process at JBSA-Lackland, Randolph, Camp Bullis and Fort Sam Houston.”
The remediation teams are using a bio-agent that removes mold and inhibits future mold growth on ceilings and walls. Civil engineers are also removing carpeting and replacing it with vinyl planking.
“Allergy symptoms to mold are not unique to any other kind of air-allergen,” Maj. Gen. John DeGoes, 59th Medical Wing commander, said. “Mold exposure could create general allergy symptoms such as itchy, watery eyes, running nose, sneezing and a dry cough. If anyone has any new concerns, they are encouraged to present them to their primary care manager. If their PCM has any concern about allergies, we have a very robust allergy and immunology consultant team at both Wilford Hall Ambulatory Surgical Center and Brooke Army Medical Center who can diagnose and treat accordingly.”
Degoes said less than 10 residents have come in with concerns from symptoms stemming from the mold.
Lenderman indicated that her team started working a Dorm and Training Campus Improvement Plan early in her command tour. Embedded in that plan are investments and initiatives totaling $102 million over the next three years, impacting 47 buildings, and addressing a myriad of dorm and training facility issues, mold being one of them.
“There may be a segment of the training population that sees JBSA as a temporary location and that they’ll just get through their training and then move on,” she said. “We need to reverse that. I want ensure our residents take pride in living on JBSA. The health and well-being of our residents is my responsibility and I am committed to fixing this issue and bringing all available resources to bear to solve this problem. I encourage residents to bring any issues they have to my attention. Help us be our best.”
For the most current information on the mold remediation progress visit https://www.jbsa.mil/Information/JBSA_Mold_Remediation/