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June 06 12:43 PM

Tests of SPD bat infestation come back negative for health risks

Inquisitor News

Personnel at the Shreveport Police Department are breathing a bit easier this week.

Air quality tests taken last week at the Shreveport Police Complex following a reported bat infestation in the building have come back negative for any health risks.

An environmental contractor took air samples on all floors of the building and found that there is nothing to indicate that Histoplasma capsulatum or Cryptococcus neoformans, health issues often associated with the fecal matter from bats, birds and other animals, are present in any way in any area of the building tested.

Several employees were temporarily relocated to other offices in the building away from the affected area as a precaution until the air quality tests could be completed.

Bill Goodin, chief administrative assistant for the Shreveport Police Department, said, “They started the cleanup immediately, as I understand it, upon receiving the results of the air quality tests. And I know that that is going to be an ongoing process.

“As I understand it,” Goodin said, “they cannot begin to start removing the bats until July 15. What I understand is, it has something to do with the breeding season of these bats. And so the cleanup is going to be ongoing. then at some point in that time frame around July 15, the environmental folks will start taking steps to safely, humanely remove the bats from the building.”

The police department has been working closely with Shreveport Public Assembly and Recreation (SPAR). “SPAR maintains the buildings,” Goodin said. “We’re just keeping them in the loop.”

Robert Storment, a partner with SRP Environmental, which is handling the cleanup, said, “We can’t move the bats out until July 15. This is the bat mating season, and so they are protected from being moved during that time period.”

Storment said there are state laws that prohibit the removal of bats during the mating season. “The way you get them out of the building is you put a one-way door they can fly out but they can’t fly back in. And so the problem would be the mother bats could not get back in to take care of the baby bats that would be left behind, and we don’t want to do that.

He said, “We have contacted a bat removal company that will come in and start the process.”

Storment there is some bat guano outside of the building that can be cleaned up which will help with the odor.

And what steps will be taken to prevent a recurrence of the bats taking up residence in the police complex?

“The bat control company, we did kind of an evaluation yesterday (Wednesday), and we feel like we’ve found the main entrance and exits for them getting inside the building. They’re also going to do an evaluation at dusk when the bats leave the building, and they’ll watch where the bats actually exit the building, so we’ll look to see where they’re leaving. But based upon the visual inspections they did yesterday, they pretty strongly feel that this is the main entrance, the one we plan to close off.”

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