Molds photographed using a microscope.
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Mold Remediation Example
 

MOLD ABATEMENT PROTOCOL EXAMPLE

The procedures in this document are intended for professionals with training in mold remediation and are not intended as instructions for homeowners or the general public to facilitate the execution of the steps herein. No warranty or guarantee is expressed or implied in this plan. Clearance (that is, a satisfactory mold testing result after remediation) is not guaranteed. It is outside the scope of this or any document to supervise work in progress or plan for all the potential variables that may be encountered during remediation work. This document is not intended to be a technical analysis of the structure for code compliance, habitability, geological survey, presence of hazardous materials, value of the property, nor does it represent an opinion on health effects or the extent of microbial contamination.

All clean-up tasks should follow standard mold abatement protocols, including (but not limited to) the following:

Containment

Full containment is required for the cleanup of mold-contaminated surface areas. Areas of containment are required whenever surface areas treated are greater than 100 square feet or in any situation in which it appears likely that the occupant space would be further contaminated without full containment. Double layers of polyethylene should be used to create a barrier between the moldy area and other parts of the building. A decontamination chamber or airlock should be constructed for entry into and exit from the remediation area. The entryways to the airlock from the outside and from the airlock to the main containment area should consist of a slit entry with covering flaps on the outside surface of each slit entry. The chamber should be large enough to hold a waste container and allow a person to put on and remove Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). All contaminated PPE except respirators should be placed in a sealed bag while in this chamber. Respirators should be worn until workers are outside the decontamination chamber. PPE must be worn throughout the final stages of HEPA vacuuming and damp-wiping of the contained area. Personal Protective Equipment must also be worn during HEPA vacuum filter changes or cleanup of the HEPA vacuum.

Interior Mold Abatement and Cleaning

The containment area shall be placed under negative air. Prior to opening the walls or removing the carpet, it will be necessary to ensure the area is contained and under negative air to prevent further contamination to other areas.

Lift the carpet and discard it by cutting it into small sizes, double bagging it, and removing it. Contaminated materials should be carefully removed in as large of a section as possible and immediately bagged in a 6-mil disposal bag or double bagged 3 mil bags. Contaminated materials should be carefully removed with a razor or carpet knives, cutting rather than tearing into pieces to prevent creation of dust.

When removing the drywall, attempt to unscrew the sheetrock screws or carefully pry the wallboard away from the studs. Do not smash these materials with a hammer or crow bar. If electric saws are used, they must have dust collecting devices. Insulation is to be removed and immediately bagged in a 6-mil disposal bag or double bagged in 3 mil bags. A razor knife should be used to cut the paper or foil backing rather than tearing it into pieces. Keep the work area as free as possible from dust by using the HEPA vacuum cleaner and bagging all debris. Remove and bag all remaining drywall screws, nails and small debris. The bagged materials should be sealed inside a second bag before removing them to the outside of the containment area.

When removing drywall as described above, if mold is visible, continue removing the wallboard until the mold growth is all exposed and removed to a distance of two feet beyond the last visible growth. If mold growth is found, all exposed wood surfaces in the area that show mold growth are to be wire brushed and treated with a low VOC biocide.

When remediation is complete, the area is to be cleaned and the containment removed. Tools, HEPA vacuum cleaners, and negative air machines are to be vacuumed and damp wiped before leaving the containment area. All construction and other debris will be removed from the area.

HEPA vacuum and wipe all surfaces prior to removal of containment, starting with the ceiling, then walls and finally the floors. The HEPA vacuum brush attachment should be slowly and perpendicularly drawn across the surface with a minimum of 30% overlap on each pass. The HEPA negative air machine should continue to be operated to act as an air scrubber. When all the surfaces are vacuumed, they are to be damp wiped with a very mild soap-water solution made by mixing a ½ teaspoon of soap per gallon of water. Clean rags should be used and fresh sides used with each pass. All wiping movements should be done with parallel and overlapping passes. The clearance criterion for the cleaning is a white glove inspection with a standard of no visible dust.

Removal and Disposal of Contaminated Materials

Materials for disposal must not be left unattended outside. Bagged materials are to be transported to a secure dumpster or transport vehicle immediately after removing them from the building. The bagged materials are to be handled carefully with gloves while moving them to the disposal container. Respirators are not required outside while transporting double-bagged materials. The bags shall not be dropped, thrown, or handled roughly. They should be carried to a secure dumpster or transport vehicle and placed directly inside. Dumpsters with debris must be protected from unauthorized persons and either emptied on a daily basis or kept locked.

In the event the wrapped disposal materials should rupture outside the containment, the transporting workers shall don respiratory protection, secure the area from the public, initiate clean up (HEPA vacuuming), and contain the debris.

It has been determined that fungal contaminated sheet rock not containing asbestos and microbial infested materials may be disposed of in conventional municipal sanitary landfills. No special disposal is required. Labels may be placed on the bags to discourage Individual from opening these bags or removing them from the site.

Soft Goods

Any loose nonporous items should be “tagged and bagged”, removed from environment, and then individually vacuumed and wet wiped. The cleaning of soft or porous materials and furniture items is a case-by-case determination. Clothing and bedding items should be dry cleaned. In heavily mold contaminated situations it is possible that some soft items like furnishings may have to be discarded. If the cost of cleaning exceeds the cost of replacement, disposal is usually the best option. Document all details for possible insurance reimbursement. In general if a material is hard surfaced it can usually be wet wiped. In the case of irreplaceable family items, i.e., photographs cleaning may be preferred.

Clean up

To achieve a low mold spore level in the work area after demolition has been conducted, it is important to remove as much dust as possible. Clearance testing will fail if removal of dust and cleaning of surface is not conducted meticulously.

Cleaning should consist of a combination of HEPA vacuuming and damp wiping using a minimal amount of water. This is referred to as a HEPA sandwich: HEPA vacuuming, damp wiping and HEPA vacuuming. Vacuum debris and dust from the floor. HEPA vacuum all exposed walls and wall cavity surfaces. Clean all containment surfaces. Damp wipe all surfaces and repeat the HEPA vacuuming procedure. The HEPA vacuum and wipe down will include the entry, exit chamber (walls, floor and ceiling), and flaps. A HEPA filtered negative air machine placed inside the containment area without any ductwork is a tool to reduce the spore count but this procedure should not be used until all exposed areas have been cleaned and wire brushed.

When biocides are applied, conduct the application in accordance with the manufacturers specifications. A wipe down of all non-porous surfaces with a solution containing 10% bleach may be used. To assure that visible dust and debris has been removed, conduct a final inspection of the containment area prior to any testing. Dust that may have settled outside the containment area is to be removed by HEPA vacuuming and damp wiping.

Containment Exit Protocol

Place bagged drywall or other materials into a second bag, damp wipe the bag, and place it into the outer exit chamber (clean room). Wipe off all tools and equipment removed from the containment and place them into a clean bag for off-site cleaning. Enter the first exit chamber (dirty room) to remove the outer Tyvek suit and place it in a disposal bag. If only one suit is worn, vacuum off its outer surface. Clean the outside of each respirator with alcohol wipes. Enter the second exit chamber (clean room) to remove the respirator and gloves. Place the gloves and Tyvek suit into a trash bag in the dirty room. Remove second Tyvek if worn in the clean room and dispose of it. Exit the containment area and wash your face and hands thoroughly with soap and water.

Breakdown of Containment

Prior to the break down of the containment, a thorough inspection of the cleaned containment area needs to be conducted by the project supervisor or an environmental consultant. Clearance testing is often required and the containment must pass the clearance criteria before it can be dismantled. Cut the first layer of plastic sheeting and roll the interior layer of the containment plastic to the inside. Wipe down the second layer and remove it in the same manner as the first layer using proper disposal methods.

Additional Precautions

All gas sources in the containment area must be shut off to boilers, water heaters and appliances to prevent flame roll out or gas leakage. Negative air must be properly sequenced in stages to prevent further contamination of the residence. Supervision is required on an ongoing basis as conditions can change while work is in progress. Potential changes include but are not limited to air pressure changes induced by outside atmospheric conditions, discovery of microbial conditions not apparent until areas are opened up, discovery of additional moisture conditions such as plumbing leaks, subsurface moisture through retaining walls, cavity penetrations, exhaust of negative air machines to outside areas and numerous other conditions.

Changes may occur to remediation plans due to economic viability of removal vs. cleaning, HVAC conditions, moisture, further microbial growth and health considerations. Any material changes should be carefully thought out prior to implementation and documented for all parties.

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The procedures in this document are intended for professionals with training in mold remediation and are not intended as instructions for homeowners or the general public to facilitate the execution of the steps herein. No warranty or guarantee is expressed or implied in this plan. Clearance (that is, a satisfactory mold testing result after remediation) is not guaranteed. It is outside the scope of this or any document to supervise work in progress or plan for all the potential variables that may be encountered during remediation work. This document is not intended to be a technical analysis of the structure for code compliance, habitability, geological survey, presence of hazardous materials, value of the property, nor does it represent an opinion on health effects or the extent of microbial contamination.