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Shrubs, Soil Removed Near Brick School Building; Gets OK to Open After Mold Test

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Emma Havens Young Elementary School (Photo: T&M Associates)
Emma Havens Young Elementary School (Photo: T&M Associates)

Mold levels inside one of Brick Township’s elementary schools are lower than the outside air, a report from a district contractor said.

Mold was found in seven classrooms at Emma Havens Young Elementary School during routine inspections before the upcoming opening of the 2018-19 school year. Since then, the district had the mold remediated, installed new de-humidifiers in the building and utilized the services of Environmental Safety Management Corporation to perform an inspection.

“When outdoor humidity remains chronically high (> 70% relative humidity), such has been common over the course of this summer, outdoor and indoor mold levels tend to increase,” a report from Environmental Safety Management said.

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Richard M. Lynch, Ph.D, conducted the study and concluded that the weather, combined with plant life close to the building, increased the mold level in some rooms. A copy of his report is embedded in this article below.

“Based upon these findings, it is my professional opinion that the likely cause of the elevated indoor levels of common outdoor mold spores was the high chronic outdoor humidity over the past several weeks and the presence of shrubs and soil along the rear exterior wall covering the fresh air intakes for classrooms in the lower 100 wing,” Lynch wrote.

Based upon Lynch’s findings, the following actions were taken:

  • Brick Schools Facilities Staff removed shrubs and soil from the exterior wall of the lower 100 wing.
  • A professional mold remediation contractor was hired to HEPA vacuum and HEPA airscrub each of the classrooms throughout the lower 100 wing of the school beginning Saturday August 25 through Monday August 27, 2018.
  • Supplemental dehumidifiers were also installed to reduce airborne humidity in non-air-conditioned areas.
  • Unit ventilators throughout the school were re-cleaned.

On Sunday Aug. 26, follow-up air sampling was conducted in all rooms of the lower 100 wing as well as representative rooms in other areas of the building. Temperature and relative humidity were also measured and determined to be in the normal ranges and not supportive of mold growth, the report said.

“Based upon all of the above, it is my professional opinion that airborne mold levels in Emma Havens School are within normal ranges,” Lynch wrote. “No abnormal mold hazard is indicated.”