In our previous article, “Steps to Determining the Level of Mold Contamination“, we outlined what mold is, the steps to determine the presence of mold, and identified the levels of mold contamination that a mold mitigation company, such as Expert Restoration of Utah, might use to rate the level of mold contamination in your property. Here we outline what each of those levels of mold mitigation might consist of and what the water cleanup might look like:
- Water should be cleaned up, and saturated building materials should be completely dried out or discarded within 24-48 hours.
- If you know or suspect that the water is contaminated with sewage (black water), consult with your supervisor. Contract cleaning will likely be necessary.
- If the water is clean or greywater (dish, shower, sink, and laundry water), immediately wet-vacuum the area to remove as much water as possible.
- If the carpet is wet, use the extractor vacuum.
- Increase ventilation and/or bring in dehumidifiers, fans, or heaters to expedite the drying. When the air outside is cold and dry, increase ventilation. If the air outside is warm and humid, dehumidifiers are necessary.
- Move file cabinets or other furniture that prevents thorough drying, so the floor underneath can be dried.
- Use GFCI protected circuits for all vacuums, fans, blowers, and all other electric-powered cleaning and drying equipment.
Building Materials Saturated by Water
- Dispose of ceiling tiles, fiberglass insulation, and other cellulose materials that are saturated.
- Bag and remove all saturated materials from the building within 12 hours.
- Sheetrock can remain in place if it can be thoroughly dried within 24 hours, there is no swelling, and the seams are intact; otherwise, remove it and allow the cavity to dry before replacing.
- Any areas where the structural integrity is in question must be immediately inspected by a qualified individual, contact your supervisor.
- Treat all wet electrical wiring, outlets, lighting, etc. as a shock hazard until inspected by a licensed electrician or building inspector.
- If you suspect that water is hidden in wall cavities, under flooring, behind paneling, or in other areas, investigate and open the areas up for drying as needed.
- Remove drapes and other removable cloth items for cleaning.
- Vacuum upholstered furniture to extract as much water as possible and dry further with ventilation and dehumidification.
Occupant Contents Saturated with Water or at Risk
- Assist occupants in moving furniture, personal belongings, equipment and other items that are wet out of the water and moving dry items out of any areas at risk for additional water damage.
If the water was grey water, after removing the water and drying the areas, the surfaces should be wiped down with soap and water and a disinfectant.
Level B: Cleaning areas less than 2 square feet
- Workers will wear gloves and goggles,
- For non-porous surfaces (e.g., metals, glass, plastic, tile) and semi-porous surfaces (e.g., wood, concrete), the workers will follow routine cleaning procedures using a detergent and water solution followed by a disinfectant.
- For porous surfaces (e.g., wallboard, ceiling tile), they will clean once; if contamination reoccurs, it will need to be torn out and replaced.
- Removal of contaminated building material requires Level C or higher precautions.
- They will make sure they dry the area thoroughly.
Level C: Cleaning areas of 2 – 10 square feet or removal of less than 10 square feet building materials
- Employees remediating Level C areas are specifically trained in mold remediation and have gone through a respiratory protection program.
- The workers will wear a cartridge respirator with P100 filters, gloves, and goggles. A Tyvek suit is often used.
- The work area must be unoccupied until work is complete. Only trained personnel are authorized to enter the work area.
- Occupants of areas adjacent to the work area may remain, but need to know of the risks of the work being done and those with medical conditions that could be aggravated be offered relocation.
- Care will be taken to prevent contamination of areas outside the work area. Containment of the affected areas and making sure there is negative air is usually necessary to make sure there is not a spread of mold spores to other areas during this process.
- All surfaces will be covered with plastic to prevent contamination.
- There can’t be large amounts of water introduced into the work area. Excess water should be suctioned with a wet vacuum.
- Porous materials, such as carpeting, are extremely difficult to clean and should be disposed of during this process.
- Dust suppression methods are used, they include things like light misting. This process should be used when tearing down wallpaper or removing carpet and other flooring.
- When cleaning mold from surfaces, they will use a detergent and water solution followed by a disinfectant.
- Contaminated objects and building materials that cannot be cleaned should be placed in impermeable plastic bags, sealed, and will be disposed of as construction waste.
- The outside of the bags will be decontaminated prior to moving to other areas of the building.
- Final cleaning of the work area, including worker egress, will be done with a detergent solution at the project completion.
- All areas will be left dry and free from debris.
Level D: Cleaning or removal of mold-contaminated in the area is 10–30 square feet.
- Follow all procedures for Level C Areas.
- The people doing the remediation of mold will wear a Tyvek suit.
- In areas infested with mold, the areas must be completely sealed and a containment barrier must be constructed that doesn’t allow air to flow from the affected area into the real of the areas, thus negative air needs to be established in those areas.
- HEPA vacuuming must be used in conjunction with the final cleaning procedures.
Level E: Mold contaminated area is greater than 30 square feet or involving HVAC systems.
- For Level E areas, the services of an industrial hygienist will be contracted to develop work plans and oversee the project as well as to conduct a final inspection upon project completion. A mold remediation contractor, such as Expert Restoration, will perform the remediation services.
If you have a flood and need help resolving the water damage done to your property, you need to call Expert Restoration of Utah at 801-642-4347 today.