ICS Magazine

Failure to address, take precautions in schools can lead to poor IAQ

August 24, 2001
EAST BRUNSWICK, N.J. -- An environmental consulting and engineering company has identified seven things school districts can do to improve indoor air quality (IAQ), and minimize microbial IAQ problems.

Keith Bobrowski of The Whitman Companies, Inc., said districts could take seven specific steps to improve IAQ:
1. Conduct an inspection of the building for the following indicators:
Evidence of water damage (i.e. stained ceiling tiles, warped wood).
Evidence of high humidity or condensation (i.e. sagging ceiling tiles, wet building or pipe insulation, damp walls).
Musty odors.
Mold growth on cellulose-based materials (wood cabinets, chairs, desks, papers).

2. Change HVAC filters and inspect systems for:
Proper condensate drainage.
Absence of accumulated dust inside and outside of system.
Evidence of water damage or microbial growth on acoustic linings.
Adjust fresh air intake to provide adequate amounts of fresh air.
Increase airflow in areas prone to odors (i.e. locker rooms).

3. Inspect area around intake to HVAC system for:
Damage or obstruction.
Changes in activity near intake (i.e. organic material near intake).
Evidence of bird or rodent infestation/nesting.

4. Be aware of and immediately investigate indoor air related complaints such as "stuffiness," "fatigue" and "odors." Inaction will lead to finger pointing.

5. Maintain a clean environment by the use of periodic cleaning and the elimination of unnecessary clutter or storage.

6. Retain a trained IAQ professional to conduct a periodic survey to document acceptability of IAQ. Report findings to teachers and parents. A proactive approach will minimize unwarranted public concerns of inaction.

7. Implement an organized proactive program such U.S. EPA's IAQ Tool for Schools program.

Since 1985, The Whitman Companies, headquartered in East Brunswick, N.J., with a regional office in Wilmington, Del., has performed more than 1,000 environmental site assessment studies, remedial investigations, and remediation designs throughout New Jersey, New York and Eastern Pennsylvania, many involving IAQ problems.

For more information about The Whitman Companies, visit them at www.whitmanco.com.