Genesis Health Club in Manhattan on Sept. 3. (Staff photo by Nick McNamara)

Riley County commissioners approved a public health nuisance complaint order against Genesis Health Club in Manhattan Monday morning.

Riley County Health Department Jennifer Green was present at the commission meeting to present the order.  According to Green, they had received several health complaints from people leaving the gym following the flooding event last Monday.  She said complaints included mold smell, sickness, coughing and inadequate cleaning conditions.  These complaints were also reported to Manhattan Code Services as well.

Green said the health department collaborated with code services and had found that the gym had reopened after the flooding event on Sept. 5. The two departments then decided to conduct a walk through of the gym to address the complaints.

“We identified the following nuisances; mud, standing water and flood related debris in the locker rooms, the floors were still wet and some of the walls had visible flood lines and wet to the touch,” she said.

Based on the walk through and the “current based evidences from the CDC and EPA,” Green said it was determined that the Manhattan Fire Department and the health department issue orders for Genesis.

According to the order, Genesis will have until Friday to remove the affected dry wall one foot above the visible flood line and remove flood damaged floors. However, they do not have to replace everything by that date.  Genesis will also need to ensure cleanup crews are wearing the correct mold protection attire and apparatus.

Riley County Counselor Clancy Holeman was also present during the presentation and told commissioners they have the power to issue fines to Genesis if they do not comply, but they cannot shut them down.

“You can fine up to $100 a day and then each day is a continuing violation,” Holeman said. “You don’t have any authority under the statute, for example, to close the business — you simply don’t have that under this statute. To the contrary, the Manhattan Fire Department, under the city ordinances, they can actually shut down a location if somebody does not comply with what needs to be done to comply with city ordinances that are relevant here regarding the construction changes they will have to make, and what the city apparently notified them of Friday, is my understanding, or at least they were preparing to do so.”

The commissioners, acting as the county board of health, approved the order unanimously.

Both Green and Holeman said the health club, which remains open as of Monday morning, has been in communication with local officials about the concerns.

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