Concern: Thunder Hill Elementary School: July 12th, 2023 (CXTHES2023000293)

Kitchen in Cafeteria
Date of IEQ Report Form
Date of Report
Suspect mold observed in the kitchen.
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: July 24, 2023

Mold growth was observed on the freezer and on the walls in the bathroom and locker room. 

The mold growth is a re-occurring issue in the Summer that appears to be due to failed/failing walk-in freezer insulation. The Office of the Environment assessed the situation during the Summer of 2022 and found a 10 degree temperature differential on the bathroom and locker room walls (adjoining the walk-in freezer). This temperature differential is likely causing condensation and subsequent mold growth on the walls. 

In 2022, a Food and Nutrition Services refrigeration contractor assessed the situation and determined the following:

  • The cause of the mold growth on the walk-in itself (not the adjoining bathroom/locker room wall) was related to the gasket on the door of the walk-in and needed replacement. The gasket and door sweep were replaced. *Given the mold has re-occurred, it appears these modifications did not correct the problem.
  • The contractor also reported that the insulation along the backwall that adjoins the bathroom/locker room has likely failed.  

It should be noted that The Office of the Environment also initially recommended that fans be placed in the vicinity to increase air movement and potentially reduce the severity of any mold impact over the Summer. No fans were observed during the July 24, 2023 visit. 

According to Food and Nutrition Services, the walk-in cannot be replaced due to funding limitations. Due to this, the Office of Environment utilized a board-approved restoration contractor to clean and encapsulate impacted areas (the walk-in itself, and the walls within the locker room/bathroom area). This will not prevent future issues, however it is less likely for these issues to occur now that Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) is no longer operating on a reduced Summer schedule. Impact will further be reduced as the region cools (Fall/Winter).

Corrective Actions
August 16th, 2023

A board-approved restoration contractor cleaned and encapsulated the impacted walk-in and adjoining bathroom/locker room walls. 

August 29th, 2023

Food Services indicated that they plan to discontinue the use of the walk-in freezer. Reach in freezers will be installed until funding is available to replace the exisitng walk-in. With the freezer off, large temperature differentials would not be expected, reducing the potential for condensation and subsequent mold growth. 

Tracking Number