HOW SERIOUS IS MOLD PROBLEM?Airport Gardens’ 26 units sit on a hill overlooking Hillsborough Street and the Bolin Creek Greenway. The Chapel Hill Police Department is across the street. The complex had a new drainage system and retaining wall installed in the late 1990s, town housing Director Tina Vaughn said.

 “The water came so fast and so high, the drainage system couldn’t handle it,” she said.

 Residents did not want to be identified last week but said they are worried how long it will take for life to return to normal. A July 10 letter from the housing department said the walls between units that were removed after the flooding would be closed immediately and that the town was working with a contractor to schedule the repairs. The letter also gave residents phone numbers to call if they needed temporary housing or other assistance.

Vaughn said one hotel does offer a continental breakfast, but other families may be eating with relatives or at local restaurants. If a serious mold problem is confirmed, the hotel stays will be extended, she said.

Mold produces microscopic spores that are common, but can cause asthma, allergy and cold-like symptoms if they settle in your lungs. Under the right conditions, some molds also can produce toxins. The very young and those with lung disease or weak immune systems are at the most risk, experts say.

Small amounts of mold are usually treated with a bleach solution, but larger infestations can require professional help or the removal of carpets and wallboard.

Town staff also is preparing a report on the flooding at Airport Gardens and at Town Hall. It will look at the causes and potential improvements, Town Manager Roger Stancil said. The town already expects the repairs and renovations to the first floor of Town Hall to exceed $400,000. It could take up to a year to get the 42-year-old building ready for business again.

“Due to the extensive nature of the demolition, it was decided to reconsider the layout design of the business management services area to improve customer service and improve the efficiency of the space,” said Ken Pennoyer, director of business management services.

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