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Mold Remediation

 

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Microbial Remediation

Advanced Property & Environmental Contracting Services (APECS, Inc.), is committed to providing the highest level of professional service in the Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) industry. Our licensed Microbial Remediation professionals are reliable, honest, and thorough.  We have the credentials, training, and extensive background experience to accurately assess your microbial concerns; and the communication skills to clearly describe the work scope to you. In addition to our Maryland state license, all our employees are independently “Board Council-Certified” through the American Council for Accredited Certifications (ACAC). The ACAC regulates certified professionals in the Indoor Air Quality field throughout the world.

There are several stages to provide an accurate Microbial Remediation project. Below I will try to explain some of those steps in layman's terms. The first question I am asked the most is "How much does Mold Remediation cost?" and my answer is "I don't know without any information, data and/or facts! If I were to ask you how much a car cost, you would have this same response. There are a myriad of questions to consider before offering a "quote".

When you really think about it, most of this information will make common sense. Some of the biggest key factors are: location, materials, size, and scope. An attic in August when it is 100°+ outside, or has limited height clearance, and/or a poor access door, is extremely hazardous and costs additional. A muddy crawl space with a restrictive 1 foot of clearance space, and rodents, spiders, snakes, etc. is hazardous and costs additional. Removal of a full bathroom with plumbing fixtures, outdated electrical issues, while trying to save a custom tile floor will cost additional. Removal of walls that are overlaid (5 layers is the most I've come across), or floors with 2-3 layers are labor extensive and costs additional. If the walls are made of paneling or wood planks and it is determined that they must be removed and there is a drop ceiling attached to it, the drop ceiling usually becomes a casualty. If there is no exit or other means leading out of a basement, then containment fields need to extend up the steps and throughout the main level to an exit. A 20,000 square foot basement will cost a lot more that a 1,000 square foot basement. An unfinished basement will cost a lot less to remediate than a finished basement due to the extensive demolition work.  An appliance leak (dishwasher or water heater for instance) is easier to set controls for, than sewerage back-up (bio-hazards) out of a septic tank (due to fecal contamination, Bacteria, E-Coli, etc.). Older homes with Lead Paint or Asbestos materials detected within the work scope area presents another level of consideration, as well.

And so you can see, giving a quote over the phone, sight unseen, is totally impossible to provide!

First Step: The Initial Assessment (generally there is a fee charged) which entails the gathering of important data such as the location, size of scope, the cause of the water source, among many other circumstances; technical data such as humidity levels, temperature, moisture meter readings, Infrared Thermography scans, pictures, and/or reviewing prior mold samples results. After this phase has been completed a Microbial Remediator can provide you with an estimate or quote for your project.

Next Step: Once a Microbial Remediator has collected the necessary data, then he/she can use this information to write up an IEP (Indoor Environmental Professional) report, which essentially is a protocol of the "scope of work". This should include where Containments Fields are placed, HVAC containment, and a disposal plan; what type of Chemicals and Equipment is being used and the recommended settings of such, such as CFM's (Cubic Feet/Meter) on negative air handlers etc; and also provide PPE (Personal Protection Equipment) such as Tyvek suits, respirators, goggles, gloves, etc. These three steps are extremely important because they protect the occupants, the workers, and the environment to help insure that cross-contamination is prevented. If your Remediation is not providing these three steps, they are putting you at a greater health risk, cutting serious corners, and/or not qualified as a professional Microbial Remediator!

To understand containment fields, equipment, and PPE, you must first consider and have basic knowledge of the science involved. Mold growth (which is in the Fungi Kingdom) spreads and reproduces by sending spores into the air, through small transparent stem like tubes called the Hyphae. Several species of Fungi are known as mycotoxins (myco = tiny or small & toxin = poison from living organisms and harmful to the human body). The vast majority of these mold spores are roughly 3-10 microns is size, in general. These 2 facts, along with exposure limits, are what generally cause chronic respiratory infections, among many other health symptoms and increases the risks of many ailments such as asthma, allergies, COPD, etc.

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is one of the most common lung diseases. It makes it difficult to breathe normal. There are two main forms of COPD: Chronic Bronchitis, which involves a long-term cough with mucus, & Emphysema, which involves destruction of the lungs over time.  Most people with COPD have a combination of both conditions.

In addition to the many health risks associated, there is the destruction. The food source (any cellulose type material) is eaten by the Fungi and over time breaks down (degrades). Fungi being a living organism, only needs 3 things for mold colonization to flourish: air (oxygen), a food source, and a water source, to sustain growth. Controlling the water source is the big key. Fungi is very adaptive to extreme temperatures or the lack of light. Unlike a living plant which eventually dies without water, Fungi will go dormant; much similar to grass seed. The latest estimate is there are approximately 43,000+ species of Fungi. Maybe ⅓ are black in color; so Black mold is only that, black mold. So how small is a micron? Very tiny is the real answer; you cannot see them with the naked eye alone, or without colonized growth first occurring. Look at the chart below that I have created.  Approximate 8-12 spores can span across the width of a human hair. That is extremely tiny!

HOW SMALL IS A MICRON?  LOOK AT THIS CHART:

MOST MOLD SPORES ARE 3-10 MICRONS IN SIZE
ABOUT 8-12 SPORES = THE WIDTH OF A HUMAN HAIR!

How small is a Micron?

As you now can see and understand some of the basic science behind Microbial Remediation, choosing an experienced, knowledgeable, qualified professional is optimal.

After the Initial Assessment and an IEP protocol (a detailed plan or prescription of the scope of work) has been established then the remediation work can begin. Demolition can proceed with removal and disposal of the infested materials as prescribed in the plan; then followed by an anti-fungal chemical treatment. Today there are several methods used in the Microbial Remediation industry including: "wet wash", dry sanding, soda blasting, even dry ice blasting, and Microbial Fogging, etc. or a combination of several of those methods. The specific techniques can vary from company to company. Here at APECS, our choice for Microbial Remediation is a "Wet Wash" brush & scrub (using an anti-microbial solution), followed by applying an anti-microbial encapsulant sealer. All of our chemicals are very effective, purchased only from notable laboratories, they are hospital approved, and are bio-degradable and environmentally safe products. I have tried many different methods and found great success, and cost efficiency, over the past decade or so, and prefer to stick to a scientific method that works well, and gets great completion results.

Often I am asked, or I'll overhear a conversation, about bleach. Please note this: the use of household bleach is not recommended. It is extremely hazardous and caustic, and depending on the size of the scope of the project is insufficient. Chlorine is not suitable for prohibiting future microbial growth. I find it amazing in today's world of education, that people still use bleach! This has lead to several major law suits. In areas larger than 10 square feet (a 3 feet x 3 feet area = 9 sq. ft.), there is no professional documentation which recommends using bleach for mold remediation work.

Lastly: Other considerations may include: providing the cleaning and sanitization of the HVAC and ductwork system(s). Some larger project or jobs that extend into or have open adjacent areas may need a microbial fogging. Fogging is also good for attics and crawl spaces which have limited access. This allows the chemicals to penetrate into the smaller cracks and crevices or hard to reach areas.  Once the demolition and all of the remediation phases are complete, if desired (optional and recommended), then Post Sampling can proceed; either in conjunction with, or by the company of your choice, to provide a conclusion of the work scope. Please refer to our Mold Inspection page for more information on this topic. At that point, any repairs and/or reconstruction work can commence.

This is a "very basic outline" for a Microbial Remediation project.

Always ask for the ACAC seals:

CMRS - Council-certified Microbial Remediation Supervisor  CMI - Council-certified Microbial Investigator

       

ACAC Microbial Remediation Certifications

(CMRS) Council-certified Microbial Remediation Supervisor

(CMR) Council-certified Microbial Remediator

(CRMR) Council-certified Residential Microbial Remediator (non-accredited designation)

The Council-certified Microbial Remediator (CMR) and the Council-certified Microbial Remediation Supervisor (CMRS) conduct mold remediation and mold removal projects in the indoor environment. A CMR or CMRS can design and maintain effective containments.  A CMR or CMRS can control pressure relationships during a project.  A CMR or CMRS can safely clean, treat or remove structures and contents affected by microbial contamination.  A CMR or CMRS can design remediation protocols and/or follow established protocols and industry standards.

A CRMR is a non-accreditation designation, design for training towards the health and safety of the workers and the occupants, while assisting a CRM or CRMS during the remediation work, and/or while in training. In many states which require licenses, including Maryland, this is mandatory of all non-accredited labor workers.

It becomes important to ask the right questions. Don’t be intimidated to ask to see a company’s license, insurance coverage, and check their references. By law they must show you their license.  Many general contractors misunderstand and/or mislead the true extent of the license they hold. A general Home Improvement Contractor (MHIC), Water Restoration Company, Basement Waterproofing Company, Pest Control Company, etc. may tell you that they are licensed. While that part may be true, more often their license does not include providing services in the microbial field, most likely they are not ACAC certified (required), and subsequently their license and insurance does not cover providing mold remediation service. Maryland has a specific mold remediation license and will strictly enforce this, effective July 1, 2013. That license requires the Mold Remediation Company to have Contractor Pollution and Bio-Hazard Liability Insurance, and hold specific credentials with the ACAC, and that each on-site employee must be ACAC certified (no labor ready temp help). Getting the job done right the first time will save you thousands of dollars and tons of headaches. Approximately 35% of our business is correcting another company's unsuccessful attempt to provide mold remediation work. Always check credentials and references first before signing a contract.

Below are several pictures of Mold Remediation projects APECS, Inc. has completed.

Mold Remediation

VERY BASIC: COMMON REMEDIATION STEPS & PROCEEDURES

zipper doors containment fields negative air handlers & HEPA vac

ZIPPER DOORS  -  CONTAINMENT FIELDS  -  NEGATIVE AIR HANDLERS & HEPA VAC, ETC.

PPE  demolition & removal HEPA vac

PPE  -  DELOMITION  -  REMOVAL  -  HEPA VAC

wet wash brush & scrub encapsulate sealer professional HVAC & duct cleaning

'WET WASH" BRUSH & SCRUB  -  ENCAPSULATE SEALER  -  PROFESSIONAL HVAC & DUCT CLEANING

spraying & sealing spraying & sealing anti-microbial fogging

LARGER JOBS NEED TO BE SPRAYED SEALED  -  ANTI-MICROBIAL FOGGING IN PROGESS

completed mold remediation completed mold remediation completed mold remediation

ALL COMPLETED WORK SHOULD LOOK CLEAN AND NEAT- READY TO BE RE-FINISHED 

post remediation samples being taken data collection control sample

                       POST REMEDIATION SAMPLES BEING TAKEN & DATA COLLECTION  -  CONTROL  SAMPLE

Nicholas Latgis, Jr. CMRS, CIE, CMI

NEED MORE INFORMATION ON (Mold) MICROBIAL REMEDIATON?  CALL US at 410-529-5505

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APECS, Inc.
Advanced Property & Environmental Contracting Services

P.O. Box 43957
Nottingham, MD  21236
410-529-5505
License # 29775

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