Dirty problem hidden behind Convention Center walls at APEC

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - While all the APEC dignitaries and international visitors were at the Hawaii Convention Center there was actually a dirty secret hidden behind the walls in the form of mold.

All the barriers and security precautions did nothing for stopping the millions of mold particles that are growing inside the convention center right now and it was there during APEC.

The problem is with the four story water fountain located front and center inside the Convention Center lobby. The mold was first discovered back in September.

"After 14 years of use, leaks have formed as the tile and grout components began to show signs of wear and breeches into the supporting wall structure. The drywall and interior building substrates have begun to hold moisture, and therefore mold started to grow in the adjacent pump room," said Jennifer Nakayama, Hawaii Convention Center Director of Operations, in a written statement.

They wouldn't allow us to see that pump room but the state hired Pacific Enterprises Hawaii, an environmental consultant firm and certified mold inspector, to survey the situation. Indeed a huge mold problem was found.

So were all those foreign leaders walking and breathing by that fountain in danger? Should Hillary Clinton be concerned?

"The mold has remained in isolated colonies and has not impacted or posed a hazard to public-use spaces, and steps have been taken to mitigate the issue for any employees who have access to the area," said Nakayama.

Apparently the mold is happy. Because the drywall is so wet the mold spores haven't gone airborne. Even if it did, because the lobby is so big the danger is greatly reduced.

"I think the important thing to remember is that mold is symptom it's not a problem," said Daren Kaneshiro, MD Cleaning and Restoration, who is a certified indoor environmentalist and mold specialist.

Kaneshiro has worked on various mold cases that are downright disgusting, but mold is not the end of the world if it is taken care of.

"At the point where you can see it visibly growing because it's microscopic you've got millions upon millions of mold spores there and that's just not something that is supposed to be in an indoor environment," said Kaneshiro.

The next question is what to do with this huge leaking fountain?

The state is still evaluating.

In the meantime contractors were hired to essentially keep the mold happy, which is why the water hasn't been turned off. That's until they decide what to do next.

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