Black Mold Found in Airport Terminal

Reno / Tahoe International Airport
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Black mold has turned up at the Reno airport, but officials say the toxic fungus has been sealed off and poses no health threat until it can be professionally removed.

A worker discovered the mold while repairing sections of an interior wall in Concourse B in November.

The mold was found beneath windows at gates B-7 and B-9, which are used by Southwest Airlines and Northwest Airlines. Employees and vendors were informed of the environmental investigation in a Nov. 21 memo.

Workers sealed the mold inside the wall with thick plastic and rubber caulk, then covered the access holes with plaster board.

Tests later showed that air outside the terminal had more of the black mold spores than the air inside.

"The mold is sealed off, it isn't in the air, and is not a health issue," said Marily Mora, deputy executive director of the Airport Authority of Washoe County.

"We would have preferred to get it out of the wall right away, but with all the holiday travelers and the orange security alert we didn't want to create an operations issue."

Mora said airport officials consulted with experts in mold mitigation. The mold was identified as a toxic variety that is found everywhere in small amounts but thrives in water-damaged construction materials.

Mora said the airport plans to hire Forensic Analytical Inc., a California firm specializing in mold removal, to do the repairs in a couple of weeks.

She said the contractor will find the source of the water damage and look for other mold colonies.

"If there's more in there, we'll take care of it," she said.