Guidelines for mold remediation with Mold Growth Caused by Clean Water
Use professional judgment to determine prudent levels of Personal Protective Equipment and containment for each situation, particularly as the remediation site size increases and the potential for exposure and health effects rises. Assess the need for increased Personal Protective Equipment, if, during the remediation, more extensive contamination is encountered than was expected.
These guidelines are for damage caused by clean water. If you know or suspect that the water source is contaminated with sewage, or chemical or biological pollutants, then the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires PPE and containment. An experienced remediation professional should be consulted immediately.
Select method most appropriate to your situation. Since molds gradually decompose the organic materials they feed on, if mold growth is not addressed promptly, some items may be damaged such that cleaning will not restore their original appearance. If mold growth is heavy and items are valuable or important, you may wish to consult with us or another restoration/water damage/remediation expert. Please note that these are guidelines; other cleaning methods may be preferred by some professionals.
Method 1: Wet vacuum (in the case of porous materials, some mold spores/fragments will remain in the material but will not grow if the material is completely dried). Steam cleaning may be an alternative for carpets and some upholstered furniture.
Method 2: Damp-wipe surfaces with plain water or with water and detergent solution (except wood—use wood floor cleaner); scrub as needed.
Method 3: High-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) vacuum after the material has been thoroughly dried. Dispose of the contents of the HEPA vacuum in well-sealed plastic bags.
Method 4: Discard – remove water-damaged materials and seal in plastic bags while inside of containment, if present. Dispose of as normal waste. HEPA vacuum area after it is dried.
PERSONAL PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT (PPE)
Minimum: Gloves, N-95 respirator, goggles/eye protection
Limited: Gloves, P-100 respirator or half-face respirator with HEPA filter, disposable overalls, goggles/eye protection
Full: Gloves, disposable full body clothing, head gear, foot coverings, full-face powered respirator with HEPA filter
Limited: Use6mil polyethylene sheeting ceiling to floor around affected area with a slit entry and covering flap; we prefer double that with zippers but you must maintain area under negative pressure with HEPA-filtered fan unit. Block supply and return air vents within containment area.
Full: Use two layers of fire-retardant polyethylene sheeting with one airlock chamber. Maintain area under negative pressure with HEPA-filtered fan exhausted outside of building. Block supply and return air vents within containment area.
A variety of mold cleanup methods are available for remediating damage to building materials and furnishings caused by moisture control problems and mold growth. The specific method or group of methods used will depend on the type of material affected, as presented in Table 2. Please note that professional remediation may use some methods not covered in these guidelines; absence of a method in the mold remediation guidelines does not necessarily mean that it is not useful
Method 1: Wet Vacuum
Wet vacuums are vacuum designed to collect water. They can be used to remove water from floors, carpets, and hard surfaces where water has accumulated. They should not be used to vacuum porous materials such as gypsum board. They should be used only when materials are still wet—wet vacuums may spread spores if sufficient liquid is not present. The tanks, hoses, and attachments of these vacuums should be thoroughly cleaned and dried after use since mold and mold spores may stick to the surfaces.
Method 2: Old fashion Damp Wipe
Whether dead or alive, mold is allergenic, and some molds may be toxic. Mold can generally be removed from non-porous (hard) surfaces by wiping or scrubbing with water, or water and detergent. It is important to dry these surfaces quickly and thoroughly to discourage further mold growth. Instructions for cleaning surfaces, as listed on product labels, should always be read and followed. Porous materials that are wet and have mold growing on them may have to be discarded. Since molds will infiltrate porous substances and grow on or fill in empty spaces or crevices, the mold can be difficult or impossible to remove completely.
Method 3: By HEPA Vacuum
HEPA (High-Efficiency Particulate Air) vacuums are recommended for final cleanup of remediation areas after materials have been thoroughly dried and contaminated materials removed. HEPA vacuums are also recommended for cleanup of dust that may have settled on surfaces outside the remediation area. Care must be taken to ensure that the filter is properly seated in the vacuum so that all the air must pass through the filter. When changing the vacuum filter, remediators should wear PPE to prevent exposure to the mold that has been captured. The filter and contents of the HEPA vacuum must be disposed of in well-sealed plastic bags.
Method 4: Discard – Remove Damaged Materials and Seal in Plastic Bags
Building materials and furnishings that are contaminated with mold growth and are not salvageable should be double-bagged using 6-mil polyethylene sheeting. These materials can then usually be discarded as ordinary construction waste. It is important to package mold-contaminated materials in sealed bags before removal from the containment area to minimize the dispersion of mold spores throughout the building. Large items that have heavy mold growth should be covered with polyethylene sheeting and sealed with duct tape before they are removed from the containment area.
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
The remediation work will disturb mold and mold spores become airborne, then the risk of respiratory exposure goes up. Actions like that will stir up mold include: breakup of moldy porous materials such as drywall; invasive procedures used to examine or remediate mold growth in a wall cavity; actively stripping or peeling wallpaper to remove it; and using fans to dry items.
The primary function of Personal Protective Equipment is to avoid inhaling mold and mold spores and to avoid mold contact especially with the skin or eyes. The following discuss the different types of PPE that can be used during remediation activities. Please note that all individuals using certain PPE equipment, such as half-face or full-face respirators, must be trained, must have medical clearance, and must be fit-tested by a trained professional. In addition, the use of respirators must follow a complete respiratory protection program as specified by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
Disposable Protective Clothing
Disposable clothing is recommended during a medium or large remediation project to prevent the transfer and spread of mold to clothing and to eliminate skin contact with mold.
Limited: Disposable overalls can be used.
Full: Mold-impervious disposable head and foot coverings, and a body suit made of a breathable material, such as TYVEK®, should be used. All gaps, such as those around ankles and wrists, should be sealed with duct tape.
The purpose of containment during remediation activities is to limit release of mold into the air and surroundings, in order to minimize the exposure of occupants to mold. Mold and moldy debris should not be allowed to spread to areas in the building beyond the contaminated site.
The two types of containment recommended in above are limited and full. The larger the area of affected materials , the greater the possibility of human exposure and the greater the need for containment. In general, the size of the area helps determine the level of containment. However, a heavy growth of mold in a relatively small area could release more spores than a lighter growth of mold in a relatively large area. Choice of containment
How Do You Know When You Have Finished Remediation/Cleanup?
- You must have completely fixed the water or moisture problem.
- You should have completed the mold removal process. Use professional judgment to determine if the cleanup is sufficient. Visible mold, mold-damaged materials, and moldy odors should not be present.
- If you have sampled, the kinds and concentrations of mold and mold spores in the building should be similar to those found outside, once cleanup activities have been completed.
- You should revisit the site shortly after remediation, and it should show no signs of water damage or mold growth.
- People should be able to occupy or re-occupy the space without health complaints or physical symptoms.
- There is no easy answer however it should be all resolved, all items and moisture issues solved and air quality testing results should indicate a successful mold remediation.
If you require any additional information or guidance you can call toll free 1-800-520-7443 and we will be happy to send you the information you need for your mold remediation