Sometime in late March/ early April I noticed that one of the sprinklers in our complex was broken and was spraying a geyser of water for half an hour every night (between 12:30-1:00AM)that landed right under my bedroom window (I'm on the ground floor). I called the office, but it didn't get fixed. I kept meaning to call back, but I would forget until the office was closed.
Also in early April I started getting abnormally sleepy all the dang time. I went to the doctor, tests were run, nothing could be found, more tests were run, etc. In the meantime, the sleepiness kept getting worse and worse until I couldn't work because I was sleeping some 16-18 hours a day and I quite simply wasn't safe to drive. I spent pretty much the entire month of May unable to work more than maybe 10 hours a week, and that only because I had projects that needed to get done. Thankfully, I have a good job with a truly excellent company, and they understood and were willing to work with me. Also thankfully, I had signed up for optional short term disability insurance, so I was able to get money for bills and whatnot.
May 26. It's a holiday and I start cleaning my room because I'm sick of sleeping all the time and want to do something productive. As I get towards the wall that most of my furniture is against, I notice that the carpet is damp. I finally pull away my giant stuffed dog, and lo and behold that wall is absolutely covered in black mold with green and white bits. I check behind furniture and it's running the entire length of the outside wall, including going around the corner. And that's when I realize that, oh crap, the sprinkler has saturated the ground and the water has seeped in. I call the apartment office and leave a message, since it's a holiday and they're closed. In the meantime, some friends come over and help me get my furniture and other stuff out and cleaned with bleach water. Thankfully, the only things that were ruined were things I was thinking I should throw out anyway. (The giant stuffed dog was saved after a bleach water bath. =D) I also took pictures of absolutely everything that had been touched by the mold, just in case.
The next day management is right on top of getting the mold out. The maintenance guy removes the baseboards and cuts out the drywall (I got pictures of the wall after the baseboards were removed, and then the wall behind the drywall), and they schedule a major carpet and pad cleaning for the next day. Also, after just a single night sleeping in the living room I felt so incredibly much better that I honestly started tearing up because I was so happy. That night I stay up long enough to see the sprinklers, and they've even fixed the broken one. Hooray!
The carpet guy cleans the day after, and sprays everything down with liberal amounts of mold killer. The day after that the maintenance guy puts in the new drywall and says he has to wait for that to dry and set and such before he can paint and finish. No problem for me. I had actually set up my mattress and box springs in the living room, so I even had a comfortable place to sleep.
(As a side note, I have a friend who is getting her master's in botany. I forgot to get a scraping for her, but I showed her the pictures and explained the symptoms I had, and she said, "Oh, that would be [scientific name], one of the deadlier molds.")
Well, about a week passes, no maintenance guy comes, and I'm still sleeping in the living room. I call the office and they say, oh, there's only the one maintenance guy right now and he's very busy, but they'll send him over. He comes the next day and paints. The thing is, it's spray paint and takes him all of 30 minutes to do. Whatever, it's done. He says they'll clean the carpets again and he'll be back to put the baseboards on and finish.
Another week passes. No carpets cleaned, no baseboards, and I'm still sleeping in the living room. I call the office again and let them know I'm not happy with the situation. I tell them the carpets don't even really need to be cleaned, just vacuumed, and we can do that no problem. They say, well, we only have one maintenance guy right now, he probably just forgot. Gee, thanks. That makes me feel loads better. Still, he comes and puts the baseboards in that very day, and I can finally move back into my room. I'm getting better and better physically, and all is resolved, even though, sadly, there's this annoying little clause in my lease that basically says the owner is not liable for mold, no matter how it gets there, so even a little compensation for missed time at work or medical bills is out. For those keeping track at home, this was on June 9th.
But wait, there's more!
June 19th, a Friday, I happen to be awake late enough that I hear the sprinklers go on. And what to my wondering ears should appear but the telltale sound of water beating against my window. I peek out, and lo and behold that same sprinkler is broken again. The sound of the broken sprinkler had stopped waking me up ages before, so I have no clue how long this has been going on. Crap, crap, crappity crap. The next morning, Saturday, I call the office as soon as it's open and explain that the sprinkler is broken again and needs to be fixed that day because I don't know how long it's been going on, and I don't want mold again. I'm told that supposedly the lawn care people fixed all the sprinklers the day before. I saw the sprinkler gushing water that night, so obviously that would be a no. (Thinking about it, it's possible the maintenance guy's fix from before was removed by the lawn care people, who thought it was an issue.) Melanie, the lady in the office, tells me that they'll get either the lawn care people or the maintenance guy out there to fix it.
Well, that night it's not fixed and I am pissed, frustrated, and scared. I do not want to get sick again. I do the only things I can think of. First, I grab one of my 18 gallon plastic storage bins and stick it under where most of the water lands, in part to just try to catch some of it, and in part to see how much water there was. It was full to overflowing a good 15 minutes before the sprinklers shut off. Next, I take my camera and get pictures of everything I can think of. The gushing water, the puddle under my window, the full bin, whatever I can think of. Finally, I type up documentation of everything that's gone on since the beginning. Because of the insurance forms I had to fill out, I remember the exact dates for most things, and within a day or two for the others. For the current sprinkler issues I even know exactly who I talked to and when. I check the carpets and they're thankfully dry.
Sunday the office is closed, but that night I put two 18 gallon bins out to just try to catch some of the water. I don't have them positioned right to catch the most water I could, so one is completely full while the other is half full.
Monday I head to work, but I leave the bins full of water out instead of dumping them in the parking lot, in case the office wants to see. I also take pictures of the full bins. I call the office as soon as they open and politely but firmly say, again, that the sprinkler needs to be fixed, and it needs to be fixed now. Emily, the lady I talked to that time, even walked through with the main manager and saw the mold in all its glory back at the beginning of the month. She said she'd take care of it. Well, when I get home from work, lo and behold the sprinkler isn't fixed. Also, we have a bunch of kids in our particular building who don't seem to understand the concept of not yours, don't touch, so as I pull into the lot I see a kid tipping over the half full bin and dumping the water right under my window. I stop him before he can get the full one tipped over. However, I notice that the ground is so saturated with water that instead of soaking in, a lot of the water from the half full bin is just sitting there. I should mention that I live in Utah. It's very, very dry in Utah, and we've been having 90 degree heat. Usually lawns drink up water in a heartbeat, even if they do get watered every night.
I call the office. I talk to Melanie again, and she remembers talking to me on Saturday. She says, well, the lawn care people can't just drop everything to come fix a sprinkler. Uh-huh. I tell her I don't know how long it's been going on, but the ground is completely saturated, the sprinkler is gushing at least 30 gallons of water, and I missed an entire month of work because of the mold last time from this same issue. She seems properly impressed with the need to get it taken care of immediately, and says she'll send the maintenance guy and she'll at least try to get the sprinklers turned off just for one night. That's fine, and I go about my business. But I stay up again, and at 12:30 I hear the sprinklers, and the pounding water. I had set my bins out again, just in case, and this time I move them so they catch as much water as possible. They're both full to overflowing before the sprinklers turn off. What frightens me the most, though, is that when I check my carpet it's wet. Seeping up from underneath wet, since the worst spots are under my bed posts.
So after I move the bed I take more pictures. I get shots of all the puddles, I get shots of the full bins, I get a ruler and get a picture of how deep the biggest puddle is, I get shots of the wet spots on the carpet. And then on Tuesday morning I bring all the pictures I've taken into the office and show Emily. She looked at them, nodded with several, "I see"s, and sent me away with all politeness and assurances that she'd get right on it, but no real promises.
The good news is, I had taken the day off work to go to an amusement park, and when we finally got home the sprinkler was fixed! Just in case, I put the bins out that night (I was exhausted and had work in the morning so I couldn't stay up), and in the morning they were still dry. =D Of course, if they hadn't been it would have been time to pull out those two magic little words, "Health department." I'm still debating about contacting them. It can't be right that the wall isn't properly sealed.
As a final note, I am trying to move. The contract is up in a few days, but it looks like I'll have to extend a bit. *sighs* It's very hard to find pet friendly apartments in this area. Still, I'm hoping I can finagle a discount on rent because of all of this. And the fact that I still have pictures, witnesses, and documentation.
Extreme tl;dr version: Apartment complex doesn't fix sprinkler, and my room ends up with a buttload of mold. It takes two weeks to get maintenance to finish fixing things. When the sprinkler breaks again it takes four days, several phone calls, and pictures of the damage to get it fixed.