Mold concern forces some City of West Palm Beach employees out of city-owned building

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Months after a City of West Palm Beach employee raised concerns about the air quality of a city-owned building, NewsChannel 5 has learned more has not been done been to address what City Commission documents have called "a potential health hazard."

According to Elliot Cohen, a City of West Palm Beach spokesperson, the city relocated ten employees from its Water and Sewer O&M Division, its Pumping Operations Division and the Distribution and Collection divisions in the 1000 block of Charleston Avenue after mold was discovered in an office earlier this year.

Seventy field employees still use an adjacent loading dock as a base of operations and have access to the office, Cohen said.

"When you live in Florida, you know, buildings get mold," he said. "It's just a question of making sure you get the people out of the building when you discover it and that's pretty much what we did."

On Monday, the Director of Public Utilities is expected to ask the city commission to approve a $46,000 renovation of unused space in the City Complex to relocate the ten employees.

Cohen said he was not sure what would become of the building.

"Once you move the people out and you've got them out of the office space, you start figuring out whether it's worth cleaning the building or what you have to do with the building," he said. "So, we have to do that."

According to Cohen, a formal inspection of the building had not been done and it was unclear how long the mold had been present.

A spokesperson for the Palm Beach County Health Department said inspections of commercial buildings were not required and were only done if one was requested or if a complaint had been filed.

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