Report: Lexington Police HQ faces serious air quality concerns, including mold and asbestos

by Paul Oliva, The Lexington Times

LEXINGTON, Ky. — A recent investigation into the indoor air quality at the Lexington Police Headquarters has raised alarming concerns, particularly on its 4th floor. The report, dated September 14, 2023, was conducted by Air Source Technology, Inc. and commissioned by the Lexington Fayette Urban County Government. It reveals the presence of mold spores and asbestos, adding another layer of challenges to a department already grappling with staffing shortages.

Mold and Water Damage

The report specifically identifies the “indoor amplification of Penicillium/Aspergillus group mold species.” These mold spores were found to be more prevalent indoors compared to outdoor samples. The Penicillium/Aspergillus group constituted about 1% of outdoor samples versus 13 to 59% indoors. This is a significant finding given that these molds can cause respiratory issues and other health problems.

Moreover, the report notes conditions of elevated humidity and water damage to both the drywall ceiling and drop ceiling tiles. Some of these damaged locations were found to be moist or wet, likely due to roof or roof drain leaks. The report also observed visible suspect mold growth on various items in a storage room and on HVAC supply vents.

Asbestos Alert

Further compounding the health risks, the ceiling drywall compound was identified as containing asbestos, a known carcinogen. When asbestos fibers become airborne, they pose serious health risks, including lung cancer and mesothelioma.

Recommendations and Next Steps

Immediate corrective action is recommended, including the installation of temporary dehumidifiers with condensate pumps to bring down humidity levels. The report also advises that any visible microbial growth should be addressed and corrected as swiftly and safely as possible.

Context and Implications

The Lexington Police Department (LPD) Headquarters, built in the 1960s and located at 150 East Main Street, adjoins the County Clerk’s Office. Despite recently opening a $4.2 million roll call center on Clearwater Way and giving officers a substantial pay increase, the department is currently over 100 officers short of authorized strength.

These findings could further complicate the LPD’s ability to attract and retain staff, adding financial strain for potential renovations to a department already facing operational challenges.

The report serves as a snapshot emphasizing that conditions could vary and continuous monitoring is essential. For the health and well-being of its officers and staff, immediate and ongoing action is crucial.

Top photo: Lexington Police Headquarters at 150 East Main Street in Downtown Lexington. (The Lexington Times)