When a day care center in Cheltenham, PA needed commercial mold removal services, they called the experts at PuroClean Emergency Recovery Services
A short time ago we were contacted by the school administrators of a Cheltenham, PA Day Care Center.
The children and the staff at the center were getting sick more often than usual. The administrative team wondered if their building was to blame.
They called in our IICRC certified experts for an initial assessment.
What we found was truly astonishing.
Not only was their visible mold growth in the basement of the building …
… our initial site visit also revealed that one of the building’s two furnaces had a piece of duct work missing.
The missing duct work was venting mold spores caused by the burst water heater in the basement into several of the classrooms and offices upstairs.
The IICRC uses five general principles used in professional treatment of mold-contaminated structures and materials.
1. First, provide for the safety and health of both workers and occupants by documenting the conditions and work processes
2. Next, conduct a comprehensive assessment. This can include pre-remediation testing to determine the scope of work
3. After that, provide contamination control. This is done by erecting containment of the area needing remediation and installing equipment to vent contaminants outdoors
4. Then, remove the contamination at its source by: a. HEPA vacuuming all surfaces as well as contents; b. treating all surfaces and contents with antimicrobial solution; and c.HEPA vacuuming all surfaces again
5. The last step, and perhaps the most crucial: preventing future contamination by making sure the moisture problem that caused the mold problem is corrected.
We knew after our initial site visit that applying the IICRC S520 principles in this commercial mold removal setting would require a multi-disciplinary approach.
This approach included getting an Indoor Environmental Professional (or IEP, for short) to do the pre-testing and post-remediation verification, a plumber to correct and replace the burst hot water heater, and an HVAC specialist to correct the problem with the broken vent on one of the two furnaces.
Following the IICRC principles for professional mold remediation we scheduled the work to be done during a holiday vacation week when both the staff and the students would be away from the building.
Then, we sealed off the contaminated areas and provided negative air to vent the mold spores outdoors where they belong.
Because the children and the staff were already experiencing health effects from exposure to mold, and because children in general are considered an “at risk” population for exposure to chemicals, we made sure to ensure their safety by using a non-toxic botanical antimicrobial solution: Benefect.
Traditional synthetic antimicrobials contain quaternary ammonia or chlorine to kill mold. These chemicals can be toxic to humans and animals.
Benefect contains a blend of antimicrobial germ- and mold-killing essential oils like thyme, clove and lemon to kill mold safely without adding the burden of toxic chemicals to an already sensitive situation.
Benefect surpasses the government’s germ killing requirements for hospital disinfectants. Because of its botanical formulation, Benefect is classified under the EPA’s highest safety rating category and is perfect for use in commercial mold removal settings when high risk and chemically sensitive individuals are present.
The greatest chance of failure during a commercial mold remediation project happens when the contents are ignored.
Too often the structure of a mold contaminated building is cleaned, only to leave contaminated contents to re-infest the building.
Armed with our non-toxic antimicrobial, we treated every surface of the contaminated area –
walls, floors, ceilings, as well as the contents (including the cribs)
in all the affected rooms.
The last step before requesting our IEP to return for post-remediation testing was to contract an HVAC professional to clean the ducts.
Duct work in mold contaminated buildings can be a great hiding place for mold spores.
While mold won’t grow on metal surfaces, dust and organic debris that sticks to the metal and be a breeding ground for mold that will recontaminate a building when the HVAC system is turned back on after remediation activities.
No commercial mold removal job is complete until the ducts are cleaned too!
Our success in following the voluntary IICRC protocol for commercial mold removal was rewarded by passing the clearance test performed by the IEP at the end of the job.
The building was successfully remediated of mold and we were able to turn the building back to the staff and students clean, dry and sanitized – right on schedule after their holiday.