Air traffic control towers are the most visually striking aspect of any airport. These tall, funnel-shaped structures are the focal point for the movement of aircraft over all the taxiways and runways, as well as in the air for a five-mile radius around the airport. Generally, the narrow “stem” part of an air traffic control tower is unoccupied as there is only room for the elevator, emergency exit stairwell, and some storage space. As the tower flares out at the top, the bigger floors are crammed with electronic components, HVAC equipment, radar units, and other material necessary to support the work conducted in the glass-enclosed “cab.”
For this particular project, fungal contamination was first identified in the tower at a major metropolitan airport. This happened during a routine safety inspection nine years before the problem was finally resolved. For nearly a decade, multiple attempts to rid the facility of the mold were conducted without a full understanding of the complexity of the problem. These efforts were characterized by inadequate protection of the building occupants.