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Good morning Jeff,

I need to find something for a customer …

Here is the scenario…we did a mold remediation Job with containment and AFD … the customer wants post-clearance testing … but he insists that I take the containment down and turn off the AFDs. I am trying to explain to him that the protocol for mold remediation and post testing is the containment and AFD needs to kept up and running till the testing clears.

Can you help with this?


From a common sense standpoint, removing containment before post-remediation evaluation and verification would make no sense.  The point is to evaluate the remediated area independent of other influences.  The unaffected area is what it is and can range from uncontaminated to contaminated, depending on the microflora in the geographical area, the time of year and the weather.  Further, if a remediated area remains contaminated, removing containment before knowing this (before post-remediation sampling) could cross contaminate unaffected areas.  Additionally, it isn’t possible to maintain managed airflow without containment in place.

Several definitions from ANSI/IICRC S520 are pertinent to this discussion:

containment: engineering controls used to minimize cross-contamination from affected to unaffected areas by airborne contaminants, foot traffic, or material handling.  Containment systems normally consist of 6-mil polyethylene sheeting, often in combination with air pressure differentials, to prevent cross-contamination.

engineering controls: primary control methods using equipment and containment in such a manner that they limit the exposure of remediation workers and occupants to contaminants and prevent the introduction of contaminants to surrounding uncontaminated areas and contents.

post-remediation evaluation: a quality assurance inspection performed by a remediator after a remediation project, which can include visual inspection, odor detection, analytical testing or environmental sampling methodologies to confirm that the structure, system, or contents have been returned to Condition 1.

post-remediation verification: an inspection and assessment performed by an independent third-party IEP after a remediation project, which can include visual inspection, odor detection, analytical testing, or environmental sampling methodologies to verify that the structure, system, or contents have been returned to Condition 1.

Standard Section 12 covers Structural Remediation, including 12.1 Engineering Controls, and 12.1.1 Isolation including containment and managed airflow, using AFDs and NAMs. 

ANSI/IICRC S520 also specifies that containment should be used throughout a remediation project, including post-remediation evaluation.  Section 12 provides specific guidance on the use of containment and when it is to be removed.      Containment Maintenance

Remediators should:

§  not disturb contaminated materials until  containment is erected, a negative air system is installed, and the containment’s performance is checked;

§  not remove containment until demolition, remediation, clean-up, and post-remediation evaluation by the remediator and post-remediation verification by an IEP when required, have been completed;

§  maintain integrity of the containment throughout the remediation process, including post-remediation evaluation;  

§  monitor and document containment performance at appropriate intervals;

§  construct containment barriers so that if pressure differentials are lost, containment flaps will close to prevent losing control; and 

§  stop work any time there is a breach in containment or loss of pressurization, and not resume work until the containment has been repaired and pressure differentials have been re-established. 

It is recommended that any breach in the containment’s integrity be reported immediately to a supervisor.


12.2.9     Clean-up

To achieve Condition 1 in the work area after demolition has been completed, it is important to clean it adequately by thoroughly removing dust and debris. Thorough cleaning consists of combining HEPA-vacuuming with damp wiping so that minimum moisture remains on surfaces. During this process, cleaning procedures inside containment should start from clean areas and work towards dirty areas in the following manner:

§  clean from top to bottom; and

§  clean from the source of make-up air toward the AFD.

Remediators should also: 

§  HEPA-vacuum and damp wipe entry and exit chamber ceilings, walls, flaps and floor of remediation areas; 

§  select cleaning methods and procedures based on the specifics of the project;

§  repeat the cleaning process and procedures as necessary to achieve Condition 1;

§  conduct a final inspection of the containment area as part of the post-remediation evaluation, prior to post-remediation verification is accomplished by an IEP, to ensure that visible dust and all debris have been removed;

§  remove dust that may have settled outside the containment area by HEPA-vacuuming and damp wiping;         

12.2.13 Breakdown of Containment

Remediators should:

§  HEPA vacuum and damp wipe containment materials before containment is dismantled; 

§  conduct a thorough post-remediation evaluation of the cleaned containment area after cleaning the containment; and

§  when post-remediation verification is requested or required, verify the containment passes the verification process before being dismantled.

From all of this information, it is clear that containment is to be maintained throughout the post-remediation evaluation performed by the remediation contractor, and post-remediation verification performed by an independent IEP. 

I hope this helps clarify the issue and answers your question. 

Jeff Bishop, SCRT Technical Adviser

406 Forsythia Lane

Dothan, AL 36305

334.790.3145 mobile


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