Protocol for addressing Mold concerns
Mold and mildew are fairly common in the south. Mold spores can exist anywhere, are naturally present in the environment outdoors, and appear indoors for many reasons. If a student reports mold in his/her living area, DHRE and Housing Support staff will personally investigate. The ability to address concerns early serves to minimize the impact, both in addressing the issue and the follow up with residents. Health and safety are concerns that also require the attention of Environmental Health Services.
Students are encouraged to file a Fixmyroom request for all maintenance issues, including mold and mildew. In these cases, it is imperative that communication be consistent and clear. The following are the recommended steps in these situations.
- Student files a Fixmyroom request to address mold or mildew issues, being as specific as possible to identify the location and extent of the problem.
- Housing Support assigns a person to physically investigate the request. Turn around for the investigation should be no longer than 24 hours.
- Housing Support notifies DHRE Facilities, who in turn engages the Community Director.
- Housing Support notifies EHS to schedule an assessment and recommendation. Turn around for the assessment should be no longer than 24 hours.
- Participants in the evaluation include EHS, Housing Support, Housekeeping, DHRE Facilities, and Community Director or other representation.
NOTE: The assessment visit is to determine the situation. This may involve conversations with the residents in gaining information on the extent of the problem. All are cautioned not to make uninformed, unobserved, or generalized comments regarding the investigation to residents. This can lead to misunderstandings. Rather the facts are to be gathered and a timeline provided to the residents on when to expect an action plan.
EHS is to report its findings and recommendations to Housing Support, Housekeeping, and DHRE Facilities. A written assessment and recommendation is preferred.
NOTE: Required actions are determined by the EHS report recommendations.
Depending on the severity of the situation, Housing Support, Housekeeping, and DHRE Facilities are to coordinate the response, along with the Community Director on cleaning and feedback to residents.
NOTE: The Community Director ensures that direct communication with the residents is maintained, and that questions are properly addressed. When possible, direct conversation with residents is preferable, in that it permits interactive questioning and response. Students are to be continuously updated on the progress of the investigation.
If residents require temporary relocation, the Community Director, working with Assignments would accommodate this need. Safe rooms or vacant rooms may be options.
Air Quality & Mold Awareness
Maintaining a healthy indoor environment, including good indoor air quality, requires a joint effort by UNC faculty and staff; students; Environment, Health and Safety (EHS); and Facilities Services. No heating or air conditioning system can eliminate all pollen, dust, allergens or mold spores.
To reduce humid conditions and prevent microbial growth, good housekeeping practices and routine maintenance are necessary. Given a source of moisture, microbial growth (commonly referred to as mold) can grow just about anywhere within 24-48 hours. These conditions can be created by food, organic materials containing moisture, wet towels, water intrusion, or spills which are not cleaned up immediately.
When air quality concerns are reported, EHS will work with Housing Support as needed to perform student interviews, as a part of an indoor air quality investigation. We will then develop a plan to locate and remediate the sources of air quality concerns.
Report air quality concerns to EHS by calling 919-962-5507 or by contacting EHS online. EHS hours are Monday-Friday, 8:30 a.m.-5:00 p.m.
Carolina Students can help by following the three C's: Cleaning, Climate and Communication.
Microbial, or mold, growth thrives in wet or humid conditions. Maintaining cleanliness in UNC building environments can assist in improving air quality and promoting a healthy living environment. Items such as excessive books, paper products, carpets, food, plush furniture or spilled drinks can be a medium for microbial growth. You are responsible for cleaning your personal items in your dorm.
- Empty your trash regularly.
- Hang damp or wet towels, bath mats, clothing, or other items immediately and allow items to dry completely to prevent microbial growth and musty odors.
- Clean any spills immediately and thoroughly.
- Vacuum carpet or rugs, sweep floors and dust your room regularly.
- Dust all surfaces including desks and closet walls.
- Do not over pack closets to allow for air movement within the closet space.
- Report any biological growth immediately to your RA, Housing Support and EHS at 919-962-5507.
- Cleaning of community rooms is the responsibility of UNC Custodial Services unless you are otherwise notified.
Controlling room climate is essential to managing indoor air quality and comfort. Moisture, humidity and heat provide conditions that are favorable for microbial or mold growth.
- Rooms with window AC units should be kept at 72 degrees and should be left on to promote air circulation. Window units are equipped with a “fan on” option that can be used during cooler periods when air conditioning is not in demand.
- If the windows are operable, it is important to KEEP WINDOWS CLOSED when the air conditioning is running. Condensation is created during the humid season by opening windows (hot air) and mixing conditioned HVAC air (cool air). The result of this condensation can create problems within the HVAC system.
- Do not prop doors.
- Close blinds early in the day to prevent the sun from heating the room. Turn off all lights when leaving the room.
- Do not tamper with the HVAC unit. Contact Housing Support or your RA in your hall for assistance with temperature or humidity issues.
- Do not block the HVAC air supply, return air vents, or doors where the units are located. Reduced air flow to the HVAC system can result in excess moisture and promote mold growth within the system and serviced rooms.
Communication of any leaks or water intrusion to Housing Support is required immediately, as biological growth can occur in as early as 24-48 hours.
- Water intrusion issues should be reported IMMEDIATELY to Facilities Services.
- Facilities Services and EHS should always be the initial contact for indoor air quality or water intrusion issues.
- Non-urgent maintenance issues can be completed through Housing Support.
- For emergency repairs call Housing Support at 919-966-2471. Please be advised this line is only answered during regular business hours (Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.- 6 p.m.).
- If you experience an issue after the Housing office is closed, find the RA on call in your hall and report it to that staff member. They will report it as an urgent issue for response before the next workday.
- Report air quality concerns to EHS by calling 919-962-5507 or by contacting EHS online. EHS hours are Monday-Friday, 8:30 a.m.-5:00 p.m.
Pest Policy and Procedures
Carolina Housing is lucky to have a large collection of residence halls with comforts for all. We are also fortunate to have a great Housing Support team to keep them maintained and cleaned. As good a job as they do, there is still the chance there will be an unwelcome visitor from time to time.
Fortunately, the University has a comprehensive system in place designed to rid the residence halls of the annoying intruders. Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is “a process for achieving long-term, environmentally sound pest suppression and prevention through the use of a wide variety of technological and management practices.” It integrates housekeeping, maintenance, and pest control services to prevent pest problems by making the building less conducive to pest infestation.
Many people have the same initial reaction when there is a problem with pests – they want someone to come in and “nuke” the building with insecticides or other chemicals. With IPM, one of the benefits is that it controls pests while greatly reducing the exposure to pesticides. Under this process, pest problems are prevented by managing the facility environment to make it less conducive to pest infestation.
Strategies to correct conditions that foster pest problems are employed under IPM. Bait stations that contain gel bait and monitor boxes, which help identify what the problem insect is, are utilized. Then, when necessary, a more targeted application of the appropriate pesticide can be administered to eradicate the problem insect. This program is administered by certified personnel within UNC Housing Support.
A vital component of pest control is educating building occupants on the relatively simple steps that can be taken to proactively prevent problems with insects and create an environment where infestation is less likely. Whenever food is present, insects will always invite themselves in for a bite. Messy kitchens are a major reason ants and roaches make their way inside, so keeping all areas clean – sinks, floors, refrigerators, drawers, and cabinets is key. Wipe surfaces clean after eating and be sure not to leave dirty dishes behind. Food stored anywhere should be in airtight containers. Also, trashcans with food scraps or items such as banana peels or coffee grounds will attract gnats.
If your room or area in your building is in need of pest control services, please submit a FIX-MY-ROOM ticket or call 919-966-2471.