Concern: Oakland Mills High School: March 7th, 2024 (CXOMHS20240002ED)

Date of IEQ Report Form
Date of Report
I am the BOE cluster rep for OMHS and a person reported to me mold in the kitchen area near the food pantry space. I sent an email and am documenting in the IEQ system.
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(s) of Assessment: March 7 and 16, 2024 

Historical Information:

The Office of the Environment previously assessed this situation in March of 2022 due to "black spots" on the wall. The following was noted during the 2022 assessment (IEQ Concern #CXOMHS2022000216):

  • The suspect mold on the walls appeared to be mostly dirt/dust that has collected on the wall due to thermal differentials (a process known as thermophoresis).
  • The surrounding walls were about 75 degrees Fahrenheit (F) with the area in question being about 61-65 degrees F.
  • Areas behind the cove base and under a floor tile were assessed with no mold growth observed. 
  • No elevated moisture was detected in the ceiling.

At that time, the walk-in was scheduled to be replaced during the Summer of 2022. The Office of the Environment "requested to be present to observe the areas after the walk-ins have been removed as additional response actions may be necessary." The wall adjoining the walk-in won't be accessible until the walk-in is removed. 

After the walk-in replacement was delayed (due to lead times associated with procurement) it was decided to have onsite staff regularly clean the area to prevent visible mold growth from eventually occurring. 

March 7, 2024

The area was re-assessed. The cleanliness of the wall appears to have regressed since the Office of the Environment's 2022 visit. The wall appeared more discolored and suspect mold was observed. A tape lift sample was collected and confirmed some of the discoloration observed is visible mold growth. Note, that some of the discoloration is also dirt/dust that has collected due to thermophoresis.

The area was cleaned/disinfected upon discovery, however shelving made it difficult to perform a detailed cleaning. 

March 16, 2024

A restoration contractor performed a detailed cleaning of the plastic shelving (top and underside), the block wall (using bristled brush) and the flooring. Residual staining exists. 

Because the walk-in has not been replaced, this condition is likely to occur again if not regularly maintained. The Office of the Environment understands the walk-in replacement project is to occur during the Summer of 2024. 

Corrective Actions
March 16th, 2024

A board-approved restoration contractor cleaned/disinfected the wall adjoining the walk-in as well as the nearby shelving and flooring. This measure is not considered permanent as a deficiency with the walk-in still exists. 

March 18th, 2024

Food Services and Custodial Services will need to maintain the cleanliness of the wall to reduce the potential for visible mold growth until the walk-in is replaced. Currently the cleaning frequency is set for twice a week (minimum). 

July 1st, 2024

Food Services is planning to replace the walk-in during the Summer of 2024. The Office of the Environment is scheduled to visit the project after the walk-in has been removed and before the new walk-in is installed to determine if any additional corrective actions are necessary. Please note the date associated with this corrective action is arbitrary. 

Tracking Number