Client involvement in the mold remediation is critical to successful project completion. While GreenWorks Environmental (GWE) endeavors for a project to run as smoothly as possible, the Client acknowledges that the process is complicated, wrought with many intricate steps, and hidden hurdles where any of the following issues may come up on a project.
The following is a good example of what GWE will need help with before, during, and after the project from the client:
- Health Information: Inform GWE of illnesses, allergies, chemical sensitivities, or immune-compromised individuals before onset of work. Notify immediately if anything changes. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has some good information about mold health effects.
- Contents: Do not move any contents in the contaminated area.
- Air Circulation: Limit air movement in the affected area(s) / Shut off HVAC sys.
- Contaminated Area (s): Are off limits & to be avoided unless GWE supervised.
- Project Documents: Provide copies of all mold and other reports/lab tests.
- Home Owners Insurance: Has an Insurance claim been submitted?
- Legal: Notify if an attorney has been retained for the project.
- Utilities: Provide access to water, electric, security, and breaker panel.
All sources of moisture intrusion (liquid and gas) are normally identified in the Mold Assessment Report and corrected prior to preforming the mold remediation. This may require the services of a hydrologist, drainage specialist, engineer, etc. to correct as elevated humidity is the “water trigger” to recurring mold growth.
Moisture intrusion can be inside / outside of the structure & (depending on home/property features) may not be able to be corrected. But all moisture intrusion can be managed with institutional controls (drainage systems, pumps, mechanical ventilators, dehumidifiers, etc.) once the source(s) have been identified and planned for. Note: If moisture intrusion / elevated humidity is not adequately addressed, no remediator can be held responsible for the recurrence of mold.
A thorough inspection of the property and structure to identify the source(s) of moisture intrusion and suspect visible mold growth. Sampling may / may not be involved where a detailed report firmly delineating the: a) source of moisture and b) the infestation area(s) with a c) detailed remedy. The report is used as the basis for preparing a mold remediation proposal.
Note: We are “Building Biologists” and perform all aspects of environmental investigations, in particular mold illness investigations, mold assessments, mold testing (non-viable, DNA & VOC), mold remediation, and clearance testing. It has been our experience that the complex and hidden nature of molds (and the hydrologic conditions that trigger their growth) often eludes (or is excluded) by most mold inspection firms.
Industry Accepted Mold Remediation Protocol
There is no one set mold remediation standard that can be relied upon for all structures. GWE employs industry-accepted guidelines that are based all or in part on the following standards: IICRC, EPA, NYCDOH & OSHA (to name a few). In addition, professional judgment and experience coupled with the Client’s sensitivities ultimately tailor the mold remediation protocol used on any one site. The following are considerations taken into account on every project:
- Mold Assessment: Often a separate “remediation plan” is provided clearly defining the scope of work to be completed, the moisture source to be corrected, acceptable mold levels, what is included, and not included in the overall scope of work of the project.
- Permits: Client’s responsibility unless included in the proposal.
- Personal Protective Equipment (PPE): Environmental technicians wear PPE that minimally includes: Tyvek Suits, N-95 Respirator, Eye protection, gloves, and dust booties.
- Containment / Site Bio-Security: Erected to control contaminated area(s) & inhibit cross-contamination of non-contaminated areas. Consists of plastic barrier equipped w/a negative air machine and/or air scrubbers/fans to help control airborne mold spores which are filtered from the air and ejected to outside the structure. Sometimes very large areas are contained where other times they can be small portable contained areas. Regardless of the size, the methodology is the same. Note: Containment must not be broken by anyone other than GWE personnel without authorization from GWE at any time for any reason.
- Demolition: Mold damaged contents are usually removed/disposed of and can include: sheetrock, carpet, plywood, insulation, wood floors, cardboard, furniture, ceiling tiles or other porous materials. Note: Micro-organisms are very sensitive to disturbances and will react if feel threatened by increasing spore/mycotoxin production.
- Structure Protection: Points of ingress/egress into the structure (floors, carpeting, walls, etc.) are often protected with the use of Ram Board (or similar material), padding, plastic, adhesive floor coverings, etc.
- Content Management: Wipe down through standard industry protocol all Non-porous and any semi-porous materials. Properly discard any affected materials that cannot be properly cleaned. For large remediation/content projects a “clean room” may be erected to address contents. Contents not addressed may be boxed and sealed for water cleansing. Fees clearly outlined in the proposal.
- Debris Disposal Area: Often involves a dedicated staging area that is established where debris containers, storage boxes, etc. are set up.
- Mold Remediation: Either traditional or modern techniques may be employed on mold remediation depending on the type and size of the project, client health issues, and medical suggestions. Traditional methods often involve a combination of area wipe downs / wet mopping with an antimicrobial solution (chemical biocide) / hydrogen peroxide/ammonia/vinegar / Thyme / Lemon Juice with wire brush scrubbing of stubborn areas with HEPA vacuuming. Modern techniques may involve: chemicals (sodium hypochlorite), blasting (Dry Ice, Soda, Sand, Water), ozone, UV Light, structural pasteurization (Heat), enzymes, fogs, etc.
- Biocides: GWE regularly uses EPA endorsed Biocides and Fungicides such as RMR (Sodium Hypochlorite), Shockwave, Concrobium, etc. which are typical with this type of work. Should a chemical sensitivity be an issue, other non-chemical Biocides will be used.
- Fogging: Mechanical fogging with Natural based mold inhibitor such as and not limited to Thymeoil is often employed after the bulk of intensive remediation has been completed.
- Encapsulant: Sometimes, the use of a mold inhibiting paint (encapsulant) may be employed where the client would be advised in advance.
- HVAC System: Seal off all supply lines/registers/returns in the affected area. GWE recommends ducts be remediated per National Air Duct Cleaners Association (NADCA) standards (not part of the proposal).
- Air Scrubbers: HEPA units vented to outside of the workspace (normally). Sometimes exhaust to the outside is not practical.
- Site Manager: GWE assigns a Project Manager (PM) who is the only point person for all remediation questions and client contact.
- Communication: PM contact for daily processes, keeping Clients/occupants informed were major changes to the protocol to be in writing.
- Adaptive Protocols: Every project has different/unique needs. GWE strives to ensure the remediation plan enacted is the best plan for your situation. Last-minute changes and field adjustments are to be expected.
Interim Cleansing Methods
While not a formal Mold Remediation, interim cleansing (Household Hygienic Measures) may be employed to help better manage an environment. Interim measures are often employed for a variety of reasons: a) While moisture sources are being addressed, b) occupants cannot leave the space, c) emergency health issues, and the like. Typical measures include everything from Air Scrubbers and HEPA vacuuming to vaporous biocidal mists and hydroxyl generation of reactive (-OH) species that seeks out and destroys VOC’s and microorganisms.
Air Cleansing / Dewatering
After remediation is completed, area to be left with air scrubbers/fans and/or dehumidifiers for a minimum of three (3) days to ensure the site has adequately dried and airborne particulates and mold spores have been cleansed from the air. PM will periodically visit the site, check moisture levels, and adjust duration as needed. Note: An alternative drying measure is via use of Hydroxyl Generators which convert High Humidity and H2O reactive oxygenated (-OH) species. During this time no one may enter the contained area.
Clearance Testing & Guarantee
Post-remediation verification is an inspection/assessment done after a remediation project and can include: visual inspection, odor detection, analytical testing, or environmental sampling methodologies to verify that the structure, system, and/or contents have been returned to Condition 1 (normal fungal ecology).
GWE guarantees that the work area remediated will pass clearance.
Containment & equipment is removed after successful clearance has been obtained. Should additional remediation be needed, there will be no charge to the client. GWE will not be accountable for additional clearance testing (if needed).
Note: If an outside agency / third party firm is to perform “clearance” GWE reserves the right to have a protocol for successful remediation clearly defined & agreed upon in writing before the start of the project. Any inspections/sampling will be performed in the presence of the GWE PM before containment is taken down. Once containment is removed, GWE cannot control the work area and will not be held accountable for clearance testing that was taken after containment was removed.
Is a separate work request and not included in mold remediation. Be sure to ask about it as it is often “assumed” it is included in the remediation work.
Mold guarantees can be tricky as there are often exclusions tied to the underlying source of moisture. Correcting moisture intrusion is often the hardest part of a mold remediation project. Be warry of firms that exclude addressing it as it is the most important part of a remediation. Managed Moisture = Normal Mold Ecology. GWE guarantees that molds within the remediated area will remain within Normal Fungal Ecology (NFE) for a period of one (1) year from the date the remediation is performed:
Process Have You Confused?
Most folks are that’s why it pays to do your homework regarding the Firm you hire. Of course you would check insurance and licenses and maybe even the Better Business Bureau. But a great way is to check on-line reviews (Like Google 5-Star Reviews). These usually give you a good understanding of who you are working with where you can often see reviews of folks with similar issues. Or, just give us a call or reach out to us through our Contact Us portal. Sometimes a quick chat helps get you the answers you are looking for.