Water Incursion Standard Operating Procedure

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1 Water Incursion Standard Operating Procedure Purpose: To provide a standardized procedure in the event of water incursion into any Penn State University facility. References: A Brief Guide to Mold, Moisture and Your Home, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 2002 Responsibilities: Guidelines on Assessment and Remediation of Fungi in Indoor Environments, New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, 2002 Water Incursion Check List Procedures, The Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, College of Medicine, 2001 Facility Coordinators, Safety Officers (and at non-university Park locations, Directors of Business Services and Maintenance Supervisors) and Housing and Food Service Directors are responsible for having a mechanism to be notified of water incursion events in their buildings, to notifying The Office of Physical Plant (OPP) or the appropriate maintenance staff that a problem has occurred, and to ensure that the problem is corrected. EHS should be contacted for large water incursion incidents, sewage leaks in occupied areas, and in areas where cleanup may be particularly difficult. Non-University Park locations should also notify OPP Commonwealth Services. OPP or other maintenance staff (i.e., BJC, Auxiliary Services, ARL) is responsible for responding in a timely manner (within 48 hours) to requests from facility coordinators for evaluation and mitigation of water incursion or mold growth events. Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) can assist in recommending the appropriate course of action and providing instruction on remediating the problem, dealing with employee concerns regarding their health and

2 safety, and may (if necessary) conduct pre- and post-cleaning testing to determine the effectiveness of the remediation measures. Definitions: The source of the water must be identified and the extent of the problem evaluated. Water may enter a building from one of the following sources: 1. Potable Water/Sprinkler Activation Potable (drinking or domestic) water represents the least worrisome type of water incursion. The water is pure and can be cleaned up and removed without additional cleaning being needed. As with rainwater, however, if insulating materials are damaged, or floor tile becomes loosened, whether or not these materials contain asbestos must be determined. For assistance, contact EHS. 2. Condensation Water can occasionally enter occupied spaces from uninsulated chilled water pipes or other ventilation system components that are colder than ambient temperatures. This problem typically occurs during the summer when relative humidity levels are high. This type of water incursion is usually limited in scope, but is often highly visible because of the water spotting and potential mold growth it may cause on suspended ceiling tiles. Corrective measures typically involve repairing, replacing or installing missing insulation and the removal and replacement of soiled ceiling tiles. Additional cleaning is typically not necessary as condensate is relatively pure. 3. Closed-loop heating systems Water from closed-loop heating systems presents a unique challenge due to the additives (rust inhibitors, bacteriostatic agents, antifreeze) in the water. While these materials have low toxicity, they often have strong, disagreeable odors. They will often require cleaning with soap and water or other surfactant to completely remove them from surfaces. Failure to adequately clean may result in a sticky or oily residue on surfaces. Again, look for damaged pipe insulation which may contain asbestos. If you are unsure, contact EHS. 4. Roof Leaks/Rainwater Infiltration of rainwater from roof leaks or other structural defects is one of the most common types of water incursion. Rainwater is relatively clean (although it will likely pick up impurities as it flows through a structure), so if it is cleaned up promptly, additional cleaning is often not required. However, special attention should be paid if the insulating materials below the roof are known or suspected to contain asbestos. Rainwater may carry asbestos into the building, necessitating cleanup by qualified individuals. If there is any question, contact EHS.

3 5. HVAC System Malfunction Ventilation system malfunction (typically loss of chilled water during the summer months) can result in elevated humidity levels within a building. In extreme cases, water may begin to condense on supply air diffusers and other surfaces. If indoor relative humidity levels reach or exceed 60% for any significant period of time, mold growth is possible. System repairs should be a top priority; the use of portable dehumidifiers can assist in keeping humidity level within acceptable limits (30-60%). 6. Sewage Releases of sewage represent the most challenging type of water incursion incident. Sewage should be considered to be potentially infectious, and persons affecting cleanup of sewage should have the proper training, personal protective equipment, and an effective disinfectant (see below). The amount of organic matter present, along with the odors and unsanitary aspects of sewage necessitate that additional measures be taken to ensure proper cleanup. In unoccupied areas (such as crawl spaces) or outdoors, the spill should be treated with lime (calcium oxide). Solids should be collected and disposed of. Indoors, cleanup of sewage releases should begin with the removal and disposal of as much solid material as possible. Liquid waste can be mopped up or wet vacuumed and disposed of in a toilet. The affected area should then be thoroughly clean with an appropriate disinfectant, such as dilute bleach (1 part bleach to 10 parts cold water), Virex 64 (SC Johnson) or QuatStat (Betco). Occupants should refrain from entering areas of sewage spills until cleanup efforts are completed. Actions: The extent of damage should be assessed using the following guide: Low Medium High - Standing water on floor that has not reached walls - Less than 10 sq. ft. of drywall or ceiling - More than 2 but less than 4 ceiling tiles - No standing water on floor - No wall or drywall ceiling tiles - No/minimal carpet, furniture or equipment - Standing water on floor that has reached walls - More than 10 sq. ft. of drywall or ceiling - More than 4 ceiling tiles - Carpeting soaked Only personnel trained in electrical safety can conduct cleanup activities and should not begin any work until all electrical fixtures and other equipment are de-energized. Every effort should be made to identify and correct the source of the water incursion before any significant cleanup efforts are conducted.

4 Prompt action is required to minimize the potential for mold growth. If cleanup efforts are initiated within hours after water incursion occurs, the potential for mold growth is greatly lessened. After 72 hours, mold growth is extremely likely and more extensive cleaning and decontamination will be required. Standing water on the floor should be mopped up or wet-vacuumed before any cleaning begins. Wet carpeting should be extracted using a commercial carpet extraction machine (i.e., steam cleaner ), followed by the use of dehumidifiers and floor discharge fans to speed up the drying process. Deodorants and other strong smelling chemicals should not be used to mask potential musty odors caused by mold growth. These chemicals make identifying mold contamination in areas more difficult. Water incursion within ventilation ductwork requires prompt remediation. The affected section of ductwork should be isolated from the rest of the ventilation system before cleaning begins. When water incursion or flooding occurs on the upper floors of a building, special consideration must be given to the effect on the floor(s) below. Water within in walls, wet insulation and potential electrical issues may exist. A moisture test meter can be used to identify problem areas; sections of drywall may need to be removed to adequately dry these areas. Insulation that has become wet or moldy should be removed and replaced. If the material is suspected to be asbestos, do not disturb and contact EHS for further guidance. All water incursion incidents that involve sewage, regardless of the extent of damage, will require a thorough cleaning of all affected surfaces with a soap and water. Dilute bleach solution (1 part bleach to 10 parts water), Virex 64 (SC Johnson) or Quatstat (Betco) should be used. Indoor relative humidity levels should be kept between 30 and 60%. Dehumidifiers can assist in removing excess moisture from the air. Medium and High damage areas will require extraction cleaning of the carpeting; removal of the carpeting may be required depending on the level of contamination and how long the carpeting remains wet. In areas where extensive mold growth is found, special work practices, similar to those used for asbestos abatement may be needed (area containment, negative pressure with HEPA filtration of air, wet methods for cleaning and/or wet cleaning). Such practices are beyond the in-house capabilities of the University and may require an outside contractor who specializes in such

5 services. Furnishings should NOT be placed back onto the carpet until it is completely dried. Floor discharge fans and dehumidifiers can be used to speed up this process. High damage areas may be beyond the ability of OPP or Maintenance staff to properly and adequately clean. In such cases, a 3 rd party vendor with specific expertise in water restoration should be used. Contact EHS for additional information on such vendors. All required notifications should still take place. Resilient flooring (i.e., vinyl composition tile, linoleum, terrazzo) should be mopped or wet-vacuumed to remove standing water. If tiles come up from the floor, assume that they contain asbestos, do not disturb and contact OPP for assistance. Any ceiling tile that has water stains should be removed and replaced; ceiling tiles should never be painted to cover water stains! Ceiling tiles that show evidence of mold growth should be carefully removed, discarded and replaced. No special disposal procedures are necessary for stained or moldy ceiling tiles. Occupants should refrain from entering Medium and High damage areas or areas contaminated with sewage until cleaning is completed. Removal and replacement of water-damaged drywall will be required in all High damage areas. All furnishings in the affected area should also be wiped down with a soap and water or disinfectant solution (depending on the water source). Electronic equipment should be allowed to thoroughly air dry before returning it to use. EHS has a remote visualization system that can be used to look behind walls for potential mold contamination. If mold behind walls is suspected, contact EHS for an evaluation. Maintenance Supervisors must be aware that certain University buildings, areas and populations may require higher levels of cleaning (the use of bleach and/or other disinfectants, post-cleaning testing, etc.) than those listed here (i.e., health care areas such as University Health Services clinical areas, child-care facilities, the General Clinical Research Center [GCRC] at Noll Lab, clean rooms, etc.). Notifications: When any water incursion is discovered, the Facility Coordinator, Safety Officer or the Housing and Food Service Director of the affected building must be notified (at non-university Park locations, the Director of Business Services and/or the Maintenance Supervisor must be notified). The University Risk Management Office should also be contacted and advised of water incursion events. EHS should be contacted for large

6 last rev. 9/12 water incursion incidents, sewage leaks in occupied areas, and in areas where cleanup may be particularly difficult. EHS can also provide guidance and recommendations on remediation actions needed to minimize the effects of water incursion.

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