Once the proper controls are put in place the mold removal process can begin. This can be as simple as a source removal for very small areas of contamination or as complex as media blasting for larger areas of contamination. The industrial hygienist or possibly the contractor will typically determine the best approach based on industry standards.
Beginning of the Mold Removal Process
Protocol will depend on the extent of the damage; for example, if mold is isolated to a two foot section of drywall and there are no elevated airborne spores, a source removal is appropriate. Source removal involves creating a small containment from plastic sheeting, establishing negative air in the area, removing the impacted material (drywall in this case as well as insulation if present), HEPA vacuuming/wire brushing/damp wiping of surfaces and possibly once everything is cleaned and free of contamination applying a clear mold proof coating to exposed framing. If this same scenario were true but fugitive mold spores had traveled and settled out in other areas, it would require a hygienic cleaning (HEPA Vacuuming/ Damp Wiping) of the other areas in question in addition to the above steps to remove the risk of exposure from the spores.
In situations where there is heavy mold growth present on framing it will almost always require HEPA vacuuming for surface growth followed by aggressive mold removal by means of dry ice blasting, sanding, soda blasting, wire brushing or some other abrasive technique. It is critical to have good controls in place while performing this type of removal to prevent cross contamination and it is just as critical to perform an intense cleaning after these techniques to remove the fragments and spores that were blasted or removed from the surfaces.
Each method of removal has merit however for heavy growth over a large area dry ice blasting is the most efficient due to the cleanliness of the process and its ability to penetrate crevices without forcing media into the penetrations.
- Dry ice completely dissipates after blasting leaving behind no mess unlike soda blasting and other media. Dry ice is however is slightly more expensive and also generates C02 requiring operators to ventilate the area sufficiently or use supplied air while working.
- The benefit of blasting is that you are removing the growth structures and not just the spores or surface area of the mold. Many companies perform an inferior cleaning and simply paint the wood white to cover up their sins and never really clean or adequately remove the mold growth. If you are paying a large sum of money for remediation, ensure that you get the job done right. Do not permit a white coating or if you do, make certain it has been tested by a 3rd party certified industrial hygienist to be clean first.
In any mold remediation project proper cleaning, cleaning and more cleaning is the key. We will discuss this in detail in our next write up.
To review mold removal step #1 and #2 visit our Maine Mold Removal and Cleaning Services Blog here.
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