It’s essential not to disregard the presence of mold anywhere in an indoor environment. Nowadays, mold development in interior spaces has become a worrying issue from both a health and environmental perspective. Spores from mold are very small and typically cannot be seen with the naked eye. Nevertheless, if the conditions are suitable for them to thrive, these spores can taint the entire building, potentially causing health issues and harming the structure of the building. While performing mold remediation, engineering controls should be utilized to avoid cross-contamination and safeguard everyone in the building. For instance, if the mold is disturbed and appropriate engineering controls are not put in place, the spores can promptly get into the HVAC system and spread across the entire building. Once spores have spread, they stay inactive until the right conditions arise.
Engineering controls used when performing mold remediation.
Specific methods can be adopted when mold is noticed to ensure mold remediation is done correctly. Let’s explore them:
- Containment. It is a straightforward, yet significant and useful approach utilized in mold remediation. It helps to limit the circulation of air, thus decreasing the risk of cross-pollution and keeping occupants safe. There are three types of containment:
- Source containment is used when there is minimal mold growth on the surface of a wall or other building material. It entails sealing the visible mold growth to the building material, creating a barrier that prevents spores from releasing into the air during demolition, thus decreasing the chance of cross-contamination. Common methods of source containment include plastic sheeting, tape, adhesive, or other specialized products which adhere directly to the surface. First, it is important to verify that there is no contamination behind the visibly affected building material. This can be done using specialized cameras used to look inside the wall cavity.
- Localized containment usually entails sealing off the contaminated room or area from the other parts of the building. It often includes the construction of heavy-duty plastic walls across doorways or constructed around the area of contamination. This allows workers to access the contaminated site while preventing mold spores and dust from escaping the containment during removal and cleanup. Entry points and exits are considered. A clean room air lock chamber should be established if damaged building material or workers must travel through other parts of the building to enter the contained area. An air lock chamber is typically a small room where workers will enter and exit outside of a contaminated area.
- Full containment is used on large remediation jobs with extensive condition areas throughout the building. If the entire building is severely affected, then a full containment should contain all the HVAC vents, entrances, and exits.
It is worth noting that you can combine all these methods if mold contamination is severe.
- Mold contamination cleanup methods.
There are three major cleanup methods that one can use for mold contamination.
- Wet vacuum. Wet Vacuum is built to retrieve pooled water from floors, carpets, and other solid surfaces. It is not meant to be used on absorbent materials like gypsum board. If the materials are still damp and the wet vacuum is turned on, it runs the risk of dispersing spores. All the parts and components of the machine, such as the tanks, hoses, and attachments, must be thoroughly cleaned and dried after each use.
- HEPA vacuum. (High-Efficiency Particulate Air) vacuum should be employed for cleaning up remediation regions after all the moisture has been totally removed and any contaminated substances have been taken away. Additionally, it is necessary to use the vacuum to eradicate any dust which may have accumulated on the surfaces beyond the remediation location.
- Discard damaged materials. Throw away any damaged items and place them in plastic bags prior to eliminating them from the polluted area to avoid the growth of mold spores. Material and items that are contaminated and not able to be saved should be double-enclosed with 6-mil poly sheeting. In many cases, these bags should be disposed of as regular construction waste. Nevertheless, it is imperative to wrap mold-contaminated materials in sealed bags.
When water enters a property, mold can begin developing inside of 48 hours. Therefore, it is important to quickly address any water damage caused by a natural disaster. Mold is a very possible risk and specific steps should be taken to guarantee that it is removed rapidly. Hence, it is wise to take action to prevent it from becoming a major issue. Furthermore, these methods should be used as the foundation for mold removal within a strategy of disaster management which provides facility managers with the plans, tactics, and key information necessary to respond to any emergencies resulting from a disaster.