Concern: Ellicott Mills Middle School: August 29th, 2022 (CXEMMS202200023E)

Front office, current principal's secretary office
Date of IEQ Report Form
Date of Report
Staff using that office reported a musty smell in the office.
IEQ Investigation Process

Identify deficiencies that may impact IEQ and/or sources of odor concerns. Typically includes the following depending on the nature of concern, but not limited to:

  • interview/questionnaire of concern individual(s)
  • inspection above drop ceiling (condition of roof deck, pipe insulation, return air plenum)
  • inspection of ventilation system (operation of variable air volume box and outdoor air dampers, check controls, measurements of carbon dioxide, temperature and relative humidity, sources near outdoor air intake, measure return and supply air volume, cleanliness of coils, liner and condensate pan)
  • inspection of exterior
  • inspection below drop ceiling (housekeeping, sink and floor drain traps, signs of past and present moisture concern via visual and/or moisture meter, mold growth, ensure connection of current and capping of abandoned sanitary vents, odorizers, excessive plants and fabric items, identify potential pathways, and measure volatile organic compounds, carbon monoxide, and lighting)

Date of Assessment: August 30, 2022

The Office of the Environment arrived prior to school starting to assess the odor. 

No significant "musty" odors were identified at the time of the assessment, however a faint carpet odor could be detected at times, specifically in the main administrative hallway. Carpet odors are common and are considered a nuisance, not a health and safety concern. 

The space was screened with a thermal infrared camera. No thermal anomalies indicative of moisture intrusion were identified. 

The carpet was screened with an ultra-violet flash light. No indications of past spills were identified. 

A mouse trap was located within the office and it had been triggered, however no pests were observed in or around the trap (i.e. no deceased animals).

A box of cardboard was observed. At times (depending on temperature and relative humidity) cardboard can cause a nuisance odor.

The supply diffuser was qualitatively assessed and was providing air at the time of the assessment.

Areas above the drop ceiling were assessed. No odors or concerns were identified above the drop ceiling. 

Various surfaces were assessed for mold growth. No mold growth was observed. 

A portion of the carpet was peeled up. No odors were sensed under the carpet. No mold growth or moisture concerns were visible.

A non-issued table was observed in the office. 

The Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning unit (Air Handling Unit 1 (AHU1)) was assessed:

  • The outside air dampers appeared closed. This could impact the dilution of nuisance odors. 
  • The filters were in good condition (no overloading or bypass).
  • The drain pan contained water. The slope and drain should be assessed for proper drainage. 
Corrective Actions
May 30th, 2024

A work order was created for Building Maintenance (HVAC) to assess and correct the outside air dampers as necessary.

The drain pan is also to be assessed by the HVAC department as a clogged or improperly sloped drain pan can cause leaks.

August 30th, 2022

Administration is remind the staff member that brought in the table that Custodial staff are not responsible for the cleaning of the table. The Office of the Environment recommends it be removed as the porous material readily absorbs moisture should there be a water damage incident. If it remains, the staff member who brought it in is responsible for routine cleaning. 

August 30th, 2022

Removal of the cardboard boxes could be considered as a trial as the boxes represent a potential for a nuisance odor. 

Date Closed
Tracking Number