**Woman says mold from flood making her ill **
**10/23/2007, 11:33 am **
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STEPHANIE SZUDA, email@example.com, 815-431-4087
Valinda Munson’s kitchen sink faucet was covered with a plastic bag, which had a yellow slip of paper attached reading, “biohazard chlorinated.” “This is the only water we can drink,” said Munson, holding a gallon of water a friend prepared for her.
Munson said the aftermath of late August flooding is filling her Ottawa home at 725 Christie St. with something just as damaging as water – mold.
She said can’t drink the city water because the chlorine would have a bad effect on the mold spores she said have developed in her lungs.
“It’s left so much bacteria and mold,” she said. “I’m full of it. I wouldn’t be surprised if I wasn’t full of cancer. But that’s OK, as long as my kids are OK.”
According to Professional Home Inspection, of Peru, initial observations Wednesday showed moderate- to heavy- amounts of mold growth on all visible walls of basement area, as well as stress cracks in the foundation, likely due to oversaturated soil causing excessive lateral pressure.
**PHI owner Jim Zborowski said the mold is a result of the flooding because of the amount and intensity of the growth. **
“It would have been more mature had it been long term,” he said. **The company’s work order for the cleaning – a $6,599 out- of-pocket expense for Munson – stipulates separating the basement from the rest of the home with plastic and operating an air scrubber for 24 hours before and after the cleaning. **
All **PHI personnel entering the basement are to be dressed in full biohazard suits, complete with full-face respirator units with appropriate filters. Exposed surfaces will be sanitized using a nontoxic biocide approved by the Environmental Protection Agency. Basement cracks will be filled with hydraulic cement, workers will recaulk as needed and correct grading and downspout inspection. **
The upstairs of the home will be dry fogged with a nontoxic biocide, and post-treatment air tests will be done to allow comparisons of spore counts from pre-treatment tests.
Munson said she was exposed to mold earlier in life, which makes her more susceptible. She provided The Times with copies of information on mold-related health conditions complete with notations about recent medical services performed on her and her children.
Among the notes are indications Munson has had two EKGs since the flood and has trouble breathing. She said her blood pressure has been affected and her lungs, sinus, eyes and stomach feel like they are burning or on fire.
Her 17-year-old son is asthmatic and her daughter is imuno-compromised and has Down syndrome, pulmonary lung disease and hyperthyroid, which make them more susceptible to the negative effects of mold in the home.
In September, Munson attended a City Council meeting to ask for help with a $30,000 flood repair bill. She said a surge of water rushed down the street, slamming into her home causing cracks and breaking windows. The cause, she said, was a long-standing failure of the sanitary sewer system to drain properly exacerbated by heavy rains that night.
She threatened legal action against the city in September and did so again Monday. She believes the mold exposure to her and the family members who helped her clean are a direct result of the August flooding.
“I don’t care what it costs. I’ll sell my car,” Munson said. “The insurance will not pay a dime. The city won’t help. The city can’t keep doing this to people. We pay taxes. We have a right to be safe.” Zborowski said Munson has contacted the Federal Emergency Management Agency for help.