exposure to the Governor of the USVI at the Governor's residence in Catharineberg, St. Thomas. We determined that Stachybotrys and other toxigenic fungi were present in the residence as a result of water leaks from the roof and indirect effects from air conditioning systems.
We proposed to perform a detailed abatement of numerous areas of the residence to eliminate the source of the contamination. Our crews journeyed to Catharineberg, St. Thomas, USVI to perform this work. The following are photos of the work underway.
Clearance samples indicated that the abatement was effective and the Governor was permitted to reoccupy the building following such testing. During the project our crews made a number of interesting historical discoveries. We located a number of hidden doors and windows which had been covered up subsequent renovations throughout the approximately 150 year history of the building. These original architectural details were restored to the fullest extent possible. In addition, in removal canvas wall coverings, employees in our firm found pieces of newspapers dating from the Spanish American and World War I wars. These materials were carefully removed and are now on display in a museum in St. Thomas. Ultimately, this was a successful project which had considerable historical value and served to improve air quality simultaneously.
Retirement Home in Northern New Jersey
Our firm performed a complete abatement of a private residence used as a retirement home by a couple in Northern New Jersey. This couple routinely traveled to Florida during the winter months and engaged a private contractor to 'winterize' their home. Part of the winterization involved draining water lines and shutting off supply valves from the municipal water supply from the street. Lines were blown clear and certain water sources which could not be drained had antifreeze added.
Unfortunately, the contractor closed the source valve at the street, but the position of the internal valve was approximately 8 ° in the open position. This allowed a small amount of water under 60 pounds pressure to refill lines in the home. Most of the sink source lines and bathroom lines had indirect connection to sanitary sewer lines, however, the hot water heater drain valve was left open. Therefore, when the source water from the street overcame the head-pressure resistance, water slowly entered the hot water heater, where it drained onto the floor of the residence. Upon returning home, the couple was surprised to find virtually complete contamination of the entire unit. The prolonged nature of the moisture and low-level heating in the building created ideal conditions for fungal contamination. The photos below illustrate the severity of the problem:
This was one of the most severely contaminated properties which we have encountered to date. Over 100 mushrooms were growing through the carpet and virtually every surface of the home was contaminated with mold. Airborne viable counts of microorganisms were 93,000 CFU/m 3 . Normal reference ranges for non-problem buildings are 250-500 CFU/m 3 . Based on the scientific measurements, it is obvious that the air quality in this home was totally unacceptable.
Our recommendation was to perform a complete abatement of the home, including removal of all drywall, insulation, and as much of the porous contaminated material as possible. Fortunately, exterior sheathing and sill plates were minimally contaminated and could be decontaminated and isolated. The photographs below show the scope and extent of the abatement process:
To date, the occupants have reoccupied the home without any adverse symptoms. Based on this work, we consider the abatement highly successful. Due to the possibility of litigation, further details on this case cannot be disclosed.