Here's the latest update from the Arbor Heights environment task force.  Forgive the late update, I know I promised every Thursday, but Thursdays have proven to be too hectic.  Monday updates are more likely...
Student and Staff Testing:
The district reiterated its willingness to pay for student mold exposure testing, should parents decide to have their child tested.  Testing does involve a blood test, so parents should take that into account when deciding.  It's best if the doctor performing the test is knowledgeable in mold exposure issues.  The district would like to have a limited number of doctors doing the testing, such as the Pediatric Environmental Health Specialty Unit (PEHSU).  The parents representatives suggested that some parents might be more comfortable with an independent doctor.  That was acceptable.  The details of the process is still being worked out.  Our consultant, Dr. Anderson, has said he will provide us with a list of specialists he knows, so we can give parents a choice when it comes to testing.  Fred Stephens also mentioned that they would be willing to pay for a consultation, if the parents wanted that first before deciding o! n whether to have the testing done.
The district asked whether it might be a good idea to have someone from PEHSU or another physician to come in and meet with parents as a group and answer their questions with regards to symptoms, health affects, and other health related issues, so they can make a more informed choice as to whether to have their kids tested, or not.  We think that's a good idea, but time in the school year is very short, so such a meeting might have to be held during the summer.  That's not an ideal situation, but we'll try to put something together.
In the meantime, as a start, parents should probably read the section of the Envirotest web site entitled "Warning Signs and Health Concerns" at  Some information is also available at the PEHSU web site at
Staff is covered under district insurance and workman's comp.  So testing expenses for them are already covered.
Temporary Pumping of the Crawlspaces:
Temporary pumping of the water under the building started Friday, 6/9.  The water was tested, and Seattle Public Utilities gave their approval to pump the water into the storm drain.  The space will be pumped as needed to keep the standing water out of the space.  This is not a permanent solution, but hopefully it will begin drying out the space somewhat, and retard the mold growth.
Staff Symptom Surveys:
Dr. Anderson will conduct symptom survey interviews of the staff to help him evaluate the environment of the building, and perhaps uncover some places where mold might be hiding, in addition to the areas we know about.  The surveys will be done on June 14th and 15th.  See "Finding Mold Before It Finds You" on the Envirotest web site at
Student Absence Data:
We've asked the district if they would be willing to extract and summarize student absence data by room for Arbor Heights for the last several years, so Dr. Anderson can look at it and possibly see trends in absence rates that might be related to mold.  They agreed, and they've already provided information for this year, however, they just changed computer systems for tracking student attendance, so extracting previous years data is more complicated.  Still, the district is collating that information, and it should be available to the task force, and Dr. Anderson, this week.
School Repair Work Orders:
We've asked the district to search through work orders for the school to see where water damage has occured over the last few years and been repaired, as these might be possible problem sites.  They've agreed to do this.  That data should also be available this week.
Permanent Fix:
The district has hired a hydrogeologist to try to find the source of the water under the building, he's already started his investigation.  The district has hired Bodine Construction, which was recommended by the hydrogeologist, to consult with the district to develop a permanent fix.  Bodine Construction has a very good reputation in the industry for handling water drainage problems.
Will Work Be Completed By Next School Year?
The question came up during the meeting as to whether the remediation work will be completed before the beginning of the next school year.  That is the plan.  All work should be done over the summer, unless the problem is more widespread than is now known, or there are other unforeseen circumstances.  In that case the district has already begun the permitting process to bring portables to the school.  They will be available in the event work is not completed before the opening of school next year.
Parent's Meeting With Dr. Anderson:
Dr. Anderson is happy to come out and meet with parents to answer their questions directly about the situation at Arbor Heights, but he asked that the meeting be scheduled after he prepares his initial report so everybody has time to read it prior to the meeting.  The report will be complete after the symptom surveys and some additional testing is done.  We don't have a firm date, but it will likely be within a few weeks.  We'll set up a meeting as soon as the report is ready.
We didn't get any questions this week.  If you have any questions for the task force, please send them to this e-mail address and they'll be forwarded to the appropriate people, and on the agenda for the next meeting.  We'll respond to all questions we receive in this update.
E. Joe Sharp
Parent Representative
Arbor Heights Environmental Task Force