Concern: Atholton Elementary School: January 17th, 2023 (CXXAES202300026E)

Conference Room
Date of IEQ Report Form
Date of Report
A parent attending a meeting in the conference room commented that the room smelled like mold.
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: January 23, 2023 and March 7, 2023

The room is finished with carpeting, block walls, and a drop-ceiling.

The room receives outdoor ventilation from a Roof Top Unit-3 (RTU-3) located on the roof. Heating/cooling is provided via a wall-mounted fan-coil unit located in the space (below the window). 

A faint carpet odor was noted in the space when entering. Carpet odors are considered nuisance odors and not a health and safety concern.

Minor fraying was observed in two locations within the space. The carpet was peeled up in this location as this would be the most likely area water may have permeated if there was a flood/spill. No odors were identified under the carpet in this area. Additionally, not visual cues (such as mastic discoloration or delaminated carpet backing) were observed.  

The carpet was probed with a moisture meter in various locations. No elevated moisture was detected. 

Various surfaces (particularly wood) were assessed for mold growth. No mold growth was observed. 

A thermal infrared camera was used to screen the space for thermal anomalies that may be indicative of moisture intrusion. No thermal anomalies were identified.

Areas above the drop ceiling were assessed. Debris that appeared to be associated with the recent roofing renovation was identified above the drop ceiling. No odors were present above the drop-ceiling, however because the area is used as a return air plenum, the debris should be cleaned.

There is a void near the room's window where the drop-ceiling does not fully extend to the wall. This gap does not fully separate areas above the drop-ceiling from the occupied area. 

An electrical cover plate was found to be missing during the assessment. This does not appear to be related to the odor reported but is a safety concern that needs to be addressed. 

A hole (approximately 1" in diameter) was observed in the block wall, along the floor/cove base. 

The fan coil unit within the space was assessed. No odors were identified in association with the unit and the filter was in good condition.

The fan coil unit was formerly a unit ventilator (delivered outside air). The outside air intake has been blocked off as outside air is not provided by the RTU-3.

The RTU serving the room was also assessed. The outside air dampers were open and the coils were in good condition. No odors (including at the drain/trap) were sensed. Filter by-pass was not initially identified, however when the filters were moved, it was apparent that the pre-filters and final filters were not the correct size and/or a different sized "blank" needed to be installed. This condition would not be expected to cause an odor but should still be corrected. 

The exterior of the building was assessed. Bubbling paint indicative of a possible roof leak was observed on the soffit, outside of the conference room. Thermal imaging did not indicate the area of bubbling paint was wet. 

Corrective Actions
January 26th, 2023

A work order was created for Building Maintenance to address the dust/debris above the drop ceiling. Additionally, the Office of the Environment plans to perform a survey of the remainder of the school to identify other locations were excess roofing debris may be present above the drop-ceiling. 

January 26th, 2023

A work order was created for Building Maintenance (HVAC) to address the filter bypass.

January 26th, 2023

The carpet fraying and electrical cover plate concern were forwarded to Building Maintenance for them to determine if further action is warranted. 

March 7th, 2023

A work order was created for Maintenance to:

  • Determine if the drop-ceiling can be fully enclosed.
  • Seal the penetration above the drop-ceiling.
  • Seal the penetration near the floor/cove base.
March 7th, 2023

A work order was created for Building Maintenance (Roofing) to assess the potential roof leak. 

Date Closed
Tracking Number