Tribe considers contractors to begin decontamination of mold in Admin. Building

By Noel Lyn Smith
Navajo Times

WINDOW ROCK, September 27, 2012

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T he next step for reopening Administration Building No. 1 is selecting a company to complete the remediation process.

Up until last September, the building housed the tribe's finance division and other tribal departments but it was closed by the Navajo Occupational Safety and Health Administration due to reports of mold.

Two companies, which had until Wednesday afternoon to submit proposals and bids, are under consideration for decontamination of the mold and remediation of the building – DC Restoration and East Valley Disaster Services, both based in Mesa, Ariz.

After a contractor is selected, remedying activities will begin immediately.

The first phase would be to remediate priority-designated documents that are needed by departments, which could take up to four weeks, said Facilities Management Department Manager Marcus Tulley.

After that process is finished, the next step would be removing equipment from the building then removing contaminated materials such as carpets and ceiling tiles.

NOSHA did approve a request from the Incident Management Team to enter the building Sept. 17 to assess its condition.

Although the Navajo Nation Council approved $1.5 million in May for the remediation service, the extent of service could be determined by the cost of the project.

If all remediation activities go according to plan, the project could be completed by late December but a concern is completing the exterior work before the weather grows cold, he said.

Another matter is sterilizing numerous documents housed in the building, which needs to be done before the structural clean up can start, a process under the management of a joint agreement between the special prosecutor's office and the tribe's Department of Justice.

Deputy Attorney General Dana Bobroff said when Window Rock District Court Judge Carol Perry was determining access to the building, both entities submitted a joint motion for a plan to preserve and remediate documents.

Bobroff said the documents remain protected by a retention order that was issued by a federal court for the tribe's lawsuit against the United States for historical trust mismanagement. The process for remedying documents includes determining which documents are "emergency" and "first priority."

Some "emergency" documents are ones needed to respond to federal inquiries or needed to file insurance claims or to process an individual's retirement application or needed to complete audits.

For documents determined as "emergency," they would be digitally photograph by department personnel under the supervision of the Incident Management Team and if needed, a representative from the special prosecutor's office, Bobroff said.

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