Concern: Ilchester Elementary School: October 18th, 2018 (CXXIES2018000081)

Portable 184
Date of IEQ Report Form
Date of Report
An "overwhelming" odor and general health symptoms were identified after being in the portable for a short period of time.
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: October 19, 25, and November 21, 2018

A "fresh paint" odor was identified within the portable on October 19 and October 25. The odor appeared to be emanating from the baseboards, which had been painted recently.

A mold and moisture intrusion assessment was conducted. No mold, no mold odors, and no moisture intrusion concerns were identified.

A moisture intrusion concern had been identified with the subfloor in the portable over the summer during a flooring project, however, impacted materials were cleaned, dried out, and encapsulated under the direction of the Office of the Environment.

The Safety Data Sheets were reviewed for the paints and finished used in the portables recent rennovation.  Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) were identified in several of the materials used in the portables renovation, however this is typical. VOC's must be used in paints, primers, mastics, etc. as they keep the material from drying out when containerized. Sensitivity to VOCs is thought to vary due to personal susceptibility. 

VOC samples were collected using a Photoionization Detector (PID) equipped with a 10.6 electron volt lamp. No VOCs were detected by the PID within the space (0.0 parts per million (ppm)).

The manufacturer of the paint was contacted. They indicated the average curing time for their products is approximately 30-days. 

The Office of the Environment re-visited the school on November 21, 2018 and no odors were identified (consistent with the curing time noted by the manufacture).

Corrective Actions
October 19th, 2018

The thermostat fan was changed to the "on" position instead of the "auto" position. This allowed the fan to run continuously in an attempt to better ventilate the portable and dilute the odor. Outdoor humidity levels were extremely low therefore the Office of the Environment did not have any concerns about this operation causing  mold growth.

Date Closed
Tracking Number