The process of removing mold from a property or building is termed mold abatement or mold remediation. The presence of mold has the ability to cause many lasting negative health effects; therefore mold remediation is an important approach. Any structure subject to flooding or major water damage, should be presumed as contaminated with mold if the building materials were not thoroughly dried within a 48 hour time period. It is recommended that immediate steps are taken to prevent further exposure and risk of mold health hazards.
Assessing the level of human exposure is an important aspect of the initial stages of mold abatement. A visual inspection is the first important step in detecting potential mold contamination and hazards. This assessment is a crucial part of determining the project design and personal protective equipment necessary for workers health safety. There are certain materials to keep an eye out for in particular: Ceiling tiles, cardboard, drywall, paper and other plant based materials.
An important thing to know is that not all mold contamination is visible or obvious, and contamination of the interiors of ceilings and walls is commonly found. Ventilation systems are also susceptible to mold contamination and should be checked for damp filters and conditions. An HVAC system should not be run if mold contamination is detected.
Taking mold samples such as tape lifts or spore traps (air sample) are a routine part of building inspections. Decisions concerning the need for PPE can be made solely on the visual inspection in most cases. Remediation should be done regardless of whether samples are taken in the case that visible mold is present.
A series of actions are taken during mold removal, and the type of actions can vary case-by-case. The following steps are typically taken regardless of whether the problem is small or large.
- If needed: Take emergency action to stop water leaks or intrusion
- Establish containment around the mold problem and supply protection for workers and inhabitants.
- Eradicate or limit sources of water and moisture.
- Decontaminate and/or remove materials that are damaged.
- Dry out the wet materials, if possible.
- Make an evaluation as to whether the space has been effectively remediated, air sampling can be done.
Mold may be removed with a bleach solution of 1-cup bleach to 1-gallon of water for cleaning purposes. Note: never mix ammonia or ammonia-containing products with bleach products. If mold growth or water damage is extensive, then you should contact a mold remediation contractor to properly assess the damage. More aggressive steps in mold abatement procedures should then be taken.