- THE MAGAZINE
The following is a general and partial checklist designed to cover some of the major considerations needed when conducting professional mold remediation. They are not exhaustive and, when significant quantities of mold are present, must be used under the direction of a qualified environmental assessment specialist or public health professional.
Areas of visually significant or suspected significant mold growth should be investigated by a trained and qualified environmental assessment specialist to characterize the current condition and establish starting contamination levels through sampling. Further, the source of moisture intrusion must be identified and eliminated either before or during the initial stages of work processing.
Although few standards exist, qualified environmental assessment specialist should be able to characterize the area as a "problem" or "non-problem" area based on pre-remediation sampling, the sensitivity of occupants, the genus of the mold and the numbers of colony forming units (CFUs), applicable guidance documents and their work experience.
At that point the environmental assessment specialist or public health professional can write a remediation protocol based on his/her findings.
Personal Protective Equipment:
PPE (gloves, goggles, full-face respirator, full Tyvek suit) must be worn by trained, qualified workers based on the scope of contamination and the environmental assessment specialist's recommendations.
Work areas requiring demolition must be placed under negative pressure to prevent cross-contamination of unaffected areas, using HEPA filtration units; e.g., HEPA unit placed inside or outside the work area with ducting pulling or pushing air out of that area.
Problem areas must be contained (sealed off) immediately using a minimum of 6-mil fire-retardant plastic sheeting. Areas subject to cross contamination should be protected with appropriate plastic sheeting covering surfaces. A mini-containment for decontamination may be required.
Demolition, as necessary, should be accomplished carefully with as little aerosolization of mold and dusting of materials as possible. This may include initial HEPA vacuuming of visible mold from surfaces, using vacuum attachments on cutting tools, and HEPA vacuuming exposed materials (e.g., wall framing) during removal.
Moldy materials must be bagged or sealed in plastic for disposal as normal debris. Bags must be decontaminated with HEPA vacuuming as they are removed from the remediation area for disposal.
Salvageable materials should be HEPA vacuumed carefully. Source removal is the key to proper remediation, rather than biocide application.
Salvageable materials should be damp wiped with detergent solution, and, with visible mold growth or discoloration, components may require sanding. Carefully dry salvageable structural materials to industry standards (EMC + 4 percentage points; always <16 percent MC).
Follow up with additional HEPA vacuuming of the source area and entire room including containment materials (plastic sheeting).
Remove and properly dispose of containment materials and other disposable contaminated items (filters, etc.).
At this point, the environmental assessment specialist can conduct post-remediation testing to ensure that indoor microbial levels are safe for occupants; i.e., approximate the normal environment outside or in unaffected structures.
Accomplish follow-up remediation as indicated by post- remediation sampling
Reconstruct as required. Again, these are some of the basic guidelines for mold remediation and are among the procedures you can anticipate. Qualified environmental assessment specialists will recommend many more when writing protocols for mold remediation on specific projects.
Further, technicians should attend one of several IICRC-approved, four-day mold and sewage remediation courses offered in the industry and become certified in that area before engaging in this highly specialized field of work.