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UC Mold Policy
The University of Cincinnati is committed to taking all necessary measures to avoid mold and mildew growth in University facilities. Whenever mold or mildew is discovered a systematic approach will be undertaken to remediate it. This policy outlines ways to prevent mold growth and the procedures for handling various scenarios related to mold issues. The goal is to eliminate moisture in less than 48 hours to prevent mold growth and remove mold if the duration of moisture infiltration is unknown or greater than 48 hours.
Mold is found almost everywhere and can grow on food, wood, carpet, paper, insulation, and most other organic materials if moisture and oxygen are present. When mold spores land on wet or damp areas indoors, they may begin to grow. In locations and on materials where excessive moisture accumulates, mold will generally grow if the moisture remains undiscovered and/or uncorrected. Controlling the moisture in the building can minimize mold growth. Heat, especially moist heat that results from issues such as steam leaks, may accelerate mold growth. As the mold grows, it digests whatever it is growing on and gradually destroys it. Even if mold cannot be seen, its presence may be noticed as a moldy or earthy smell.
The most effective way to control mold is to solve moisture problems before mold growth starts. General mold prevention measures should include the following, but results will depend on specific site conditions.
- Fixing leaks as soon as possible.
- Being alert for condensation and wet spots; making sure sources of moisture are fixed as soon as possible.
- Increasing surface temperature or reducing the humidity to prevent condensation that results when surface temperature is below dew point temperature. Surface temperature can be increased with insulation or by increasing air circulation. Humidity can be reduced by repairing leaks, increasing ventilation (if outside air is cold and dry), or by dehumidifying (if outdoor air is warm and humid).
- Keeping HVAC drip pans clean, flowing properly, and unobstructed.
- Venting moisture-generating equipment to the outside, where possible.
- Maintaining low indoor humidity, ideally 30-50%, but always less than 60% RH.
- Performing regular building/HVAC inspections and maintenance as scheduled.
- Cleaning and drying wet or damp spots within 48 hours.
- Providing adequate drainage and sloping the ground away from building foundations so they do not stay wet.
Communication & Procedures
The following procedures are to provide general guidance for actions to be taken for various scenarios relating to mold issues.
- In the event of flooding or large water leaks, please notify Public Safety and Facilities immediately. Locate and secure the source of the water. An effort will be made to dry wet porous materials (carpeting, furnishings, drywall, etc.) effectively within 24-48 hours by vacuum extraction and dehumidification to prevent mold growth.
- If a musty/moldy odor exists in the building or occupants have any other reason to suspect the presence of mold, but none is visible, contact EH&S to investigate and resolve the problem. EH&S will conduct a thorough visual inspection and conduct an assessment of indoor air quality including all sampling deemed necessary. A written report will outline findings and recommendations. EH&S and Facilities will coordinate corrective actions.
If visible mold is present, action will be based upon the amount of mold present and the type of material contaminated (i.e. whether it can be cleaned or must be discarded). Porous materials from which mold cannot be cleaned must be removed from buildings. Non-porous building materials may be cleaned using detergent, diluted bleach, or cleaners specifically formulated for mold. If less than 10 square feet is cleaned by FM’s Housekeeping department, a work order should be created for a Maintenance teammate to inspect the area for moisture or other causes of the mold. If more than 10 square feet are identified, a work order will be issued and FM’s Maintenance department will contact EH&S for their expert analysis and for EH&S to hire a contractor to abate the mold. If the mold is in a Housing unit, EH&S will notify Housing and Red staff personnel. If the mold is in other areas, EH&S will notify departments of the areas affected.
Key Phone Numbers:
Environmental Health and Safety:
24 Hours - 513-218-9531
Non-Emergency - 513-556-1111