Concern: Northfield Elementary School: September 11th, 2018 (CXXNES2018000038)

rooms 144/145 - Kindergarten
Date of IEQ Report Form
Date of Report
A parent expressed a concern that their son's respiratory illnesses last year in kindergarten was due to the mold (identified and remediated during the summer of 2018). The classroom was checked regularly by the custodial staff and through the IEQ process and no mold was noted during the school year. School administration requested the Office of the Environment perform another check on Rooms144 and 145 as a precaution.
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 Investigation:  September 21, 2018 and review of data loggers recording temperature and relative readings from August to October 2018.

Mold growth was not observed on inspected surfaces.

A musty or an unusual outstanding odor was not detected.

The carpets were dry as determined with the use of a moisture probe.

The exterior wall did not exhibit signs of moisture intrusion.  The casework along the exterior wall was dry as determined with the use of a moisture meter calibrated for wood.

The condition (i.e. roof deck, pipe insulation) above the drop ceiling was acceptable.

The ceiling tiles were in good condition.

Overall housekeeping was acceptable with an exception to cob webbing observed between items atop of the wooden lockers in room 144.

Each room is served by their own roof top ventilation unit (RTU).  The cooling coils of both units had minor particulate buildup.  The outdoor air dampers of both RTUs were closed.  RTU2 had no signs of current or residual condensate present in condensate pan and the end of the exterior condensate drain line was dry.  RTU 1 showed some minor signs of condensate.  The air conditioning compressor on RTU 2 came on only for a short time which may be an indication of the room cooling too quick, thus not removing an adequate amount of humidity from the room.

Data loggers indicated favorable conditions for mold growth due to continuous elevated humidity within the rooms.  Dehumidifiers were placed in the rooms for a week to break the elevated relative humidity cycle to prevent mold growth.

Once the dehumidifiers were removed, the data loggers indicated that the review, work, and/or adjustments Building Services made during the summer to the RTUs and their controls did not improve the relative humidity within the classrooms during moist (air) weather patterns.


Corrective Actions
September 24th, 2018

Per work order 88222, Building Services checked over both RTUs and both were operating as expected.  The refrigerant level, amperage draw on condenser fans and compressors were acceptable.  The fan belts were in good condition.  The cooling, condenser, and evaporator coils were cleaned.  The outdoor air dampers were checked and found not to be operating. 

Additional work was performed on September 26, 2018 to complete the review and verify the RTUs were operating per control settings.

Building Services and the Office of Environment will continue to monitor the situation during the cooling season and make necessary corrections to eliminate excessive humidity levels within the classrooms. A review of the ventilation systems that services the rooms will occur.

Date Closed
Tracking Number