Protecting U.S. Embassy Workers from the Threat of Mold
When construction workers expanding the U.S. Embassy’s Port Moresby campus in Papua New Guinea discovered that a newly installed HVAC handler was rusting in the humid and saline ambient conditions, a closer look revealed signs of rust buildup and the threat of mold was present.
The New York-based construction company began looking for an environmental partner who could assess the situation and ensure the health and safety of embassy staff.
Nearly 7,000 miles away, Omega Environmental took on the job of managing the construction team through the process of providing remediation work plans, guiding remediation activities and post-remediation assessments including air sampling for bio-aerosols. This was followed by re-cleaning and follow-up testing in areas where the results were not acceptable to Omega.
“We walked them through the entire process, from interpreting the initial swab test results from samples collected by a local laboratory to guiding them through the entire process, and providing them with great results,” said Omega President and Project Director Steve Rosas.
Air Quality Assessment Reveals the Threat of Mold Spores
With Omega remotely guiding the Papua New Guinea construction team through the process of air sampling, high levels of mold spores were identified, which included Aspergillus, a common mold found both indoors and outdoors and responsible for a potential disease known as Aspergillosis.
The threat of mold includes symptoms of fatigue, wheezing, shortness of breath, an impaired sense of smell, and sometimes coughing up blood. For people with weakened immune systems, exposure can also create a higher risk of allergic reactions and lung infections, among other health problems, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control.
Long-Distance Support and Successful Mitigation Across Miles of Ocean
To mitigate the risk at the embassy compound, detailed cleaning procedures were performed in the AHU housing under strict negative pressure air containments. Post-cleaning was followed by air sampling in the occupied areas for airborne spores to which the AHU was connected. If the results were not to Omega’s acceptance criteria, the AHUs were recleaned followed by additional sampling. This process was repeated until the air quality was determined to be safe. During the cleaning process, the rust buildup was also removed. Diffusers in each room served by the affected air handlers were removed, cleaned, disinfected, and re-installed.
With communications, planning, and logistics managed between California, New York, and Papua New Guinea, the result was a success across three time zones.
Reliable Environmental Assessment and Remediation
With deep expertise in environmental assessment and remediation, the Omega Team provides reliable and cost-effective solutions that get construction and renovation projects back on track safely and compliantly.
Whether you’re building an embassy in a far-flung island nation, testing indoor air quality in hotels across the U.S., or looking to ensure the safety of a college campus renovation project, we’ve got the experience and solutions you need to ensure that environmental issues are handled safely and effectively.