There is no easy answer. Ultimately this is a judgment call. The following conditions must first be met prior to clearing an area for re- occupancy:
- You must have completely fixed the water or moisture problem.
- Water damaged materials should be dried or removed as verified by moisture readings.
- You should complete mold removal. Visible mold, mold damaged materials, and moldy odors should not be present.
- Final air sampling is required on remediation projects over 100 square feet.
- 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. (Note: See appendix A for air sampling guidelines on remediation projects greater than 100 square feet).
- You should revisit the site shortly after remediation, and it should show no signs of water damage or mold growth. Hazard Communication and Notification:
Communication with building occupants is essential for successful mold remediation. Some occupants will naturally be concerned about mold growth in their building and the potential health impacts. Occupant’s perceptions of the health risk may rise if they perceive that information is being withheld from them. The status of the building investigation and remediation should be openly communicated including information on any known or suspected health risks.
Small remediation efforts will usually not require a formal communication process, but do be sure to take individual concerns seriously and use common sense when deciding whether formal communications are required. When fungal growth requiring large-scale remediation is found, the remediation manager should notify occupants on the affected area(s) of its presence. Notification should include a description of the remedial measures to be taken and a timetable for completion. Group meetings held before and after remediation with full disclosure of plans and results can be an effective communication mechanism. Try and resolve issues and occupant concerns as they arise.
The four steps listed below should be followed while communicating during remediation:
- Establish that the health and safety of building occupants are top priorities.
- Demonstrate that the occupants’ concerns are understood and taken seriously.
- Present clearly the current status of the investigation or remediation efforts.
- Identify a person whom building occupants can contact directly to discuss questions and comments about the remediation activities. When building-wide communications are frequent and open, those managing the remediation can direct more time toward resolving the problem and less time to responding to occupant concerns.