A military barracks used to shelter soldiers returning from fighting in Afghanistan has major problems with mold, leaks, backup sewage, and a number of other issues. This barracks, originally designed for Korean War combatants now has lead-based paint peeling off the walls, missing ceiling tiles, broken drain pipes, and, of course, our old friend mold is showing up everywhere it is not welcome. Sewage water backs up into the sinks in the lower floors. A video of the barracks show soldiers wading around in three inches of sewage water. As if this wasn’t unpleasant enough, I can only think about the lingering mold problem that awaits them after it is mopped up. That much stagnant water is a death sentence for a building. It took such a video to bring the deplorable state of the barracks to the attention of decision-makers. Senator Elizabeth Dole responded to the situation, calling it “unacceptable” and that it “must be immediately corrected.” Like most mold situations, I don’t think this problem came from the barrack’s advanced age but by maintenance control issues. The building was unused during the 15 months the current occupying unit was away. Apparently, no one during this time was regularly checking the building for maintenance repairs. One leaky pipe unattended can turn into a critical mold problem if left unattended, while any building, no matter the age, can resist mold growth if problems like these are not allowed to spiral out of control. The whole thing is obviously embarrassing for everyone involved and it’s a shame that this was allowed to happen to our soldiers. Apparently, there is a massive construction project underway to create housing, but it is behind schedule. Soldiers blame slow contractors for forcing them to wait in the sewage-filled barracks.