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When issues or concerns of dampness or mold arise at The Catholic University of America facilities, the University will follow applicable laws and regulations, and be guided by information from the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), the District Department of Energy & Environment (DOEE), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the National Institute for Occupational Safety & Health (NIOSH).

Members of the University community must report any dampness or mold concerns to University Facilities Maintenance & Operations (FMO) upon discovery or suspicion of a problem via their work request website or by calling (202) 319-5121.


Please refer to this information sheet for an introductory overview of the management of potential mold reports in University facilities.



Molds are fungi that can be found both indoors and outdoors. No one knows how many species of fungi exist but estimates indicate that 1,000 species of mold can be found in the United States, with more than 100,000 known species worldwide.  Some mold spores can survive harsh environmental conditions, such as dry conditions, that do not support normal mold growth.

Mold growth and amplification is generally encouraged by warm and humid conditions.  Outdoors they can often be found in shady, damp areas or places where leaves or other vegetation are decomposing.  Indoors they can be found where humidity levels are high, such as basements or showers or where there has been a water intrusion event.

The CDC provides the following guidance for how people can minimize mold exposure:

Sensitive individuals should avoid areas that are likely to have mold such as compost piles, cut grass, and wooded areas.  Inside buildings, mold growth can be slowed by controlling humidity.  If there is mold growth, it should be remediated and the conditions that contributed to the mold growth should be remedied. 

According to the CDC, it is generally not necessary to identify the species of any mold which has grown.  Current evidence indicates that allergies are the types of ailments most often associated with molds.  Since the susceptibility of individuals can vary greatly either because of the amount or type of mold, sampling and culturing are not reliable in determining health risk. 



Occupants should maintain a reasonable level of cleanliness to help minimize potential mold issues.

Residence Assistants will conduct regular inspections in residence hall rooms to determine whether student occupants are doing so.  Students can be cited for failure to keep their rooms clean in a manner that would help preclude mold growth.



The goal of any dampness or mold evaluation is to determine if there is a problem due to dampness or mold and, if so, gather information to assist in the development of a response plan.  The following actions will occur in response to a work order concerning a dampness or mold complaint:

  • an inspection of the space and associated building components as well as potential pollutant pathways; and
  • identification of any potential sources of moisture or water intrusion.

1.) Inspection

In response to a concern, complaint, work order or other substantive report of dampness or mold, FMO staff will conduct an inspection of the space.  The inspection will be used to identify and document any of the following conditions present within the space(s) for consideration when developing a response plan:

  • relative humidity levels;
  • suspect odors;
  • any visual evidence of water damage/leakage;
  • the number and size of items or building components potentially contaminated with suspect visible mold;
  • cleanliness and proper function of heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) equipment; and
  • cleanliness and general housekeeping in the area. 

The NIOSH Dampness and Mold Assessment Tool will be used as guidance during the inspection process in an effort to quantify and document any suspected problem.

The University will consider requests for sampling to identify mold concentrations or species only upon written request from a health care provider.  A medical professional specializing in mold exposures, which may include, but not be limited to, an allergist, immunologist or pulmonologist is recommended.

2.) Assessment

University Facilties staff will review the information collected and review and approve the site-specific work response plan.  The plan will be made available to the initial requestor upon request, along with University Housing and Residence Life staff when necessary.  Where appropriate, work plans may include, but may not be limited to, the following:

  • addressing the source of moisture or water intrusion;
  • thorough cleaning of surfaces;
  • removal and/or replacement of water-damaged/contaminated materials which cannot be appropriately cleaned or otherwise salvaged; and
  • modifications or repairs to building components as necessary to address any factors contributing to the mold problem.

3.) Work Plan Execution - Facility Repairs

Work requests will be tracked with the EMaint system for all HVAC or building repairs required.

4.) Work Plan Execution - Mold Remediation

When necessary, remediation activities shall be conducted in accordance with applicable law and regulations.  In the absence of such laws or regulations, remediation activities will be conducted in accordance with the EPA's publication, Mold Remediation in Schools and Commercial Buildings.  Unless otherwise required by law or regulation, the University's response plan will be as follows:

Small Isolated Areas (less than 10 square feet) - e.g. limited ceiling tiles, small areas on walls.

  • Remediation conducted by trained in-house staff.

Large Isolated Areas (greater than 10 square feet) - e.g. multiple ceiling tiles, a large section of wall.

  • Remediation may be conducted by trained in-house staff depending on specific conditions; or
  • Remediation may be sourced to a properly trained independent remediation contractor.

Any remediation plan shall be reviewed and approved by appropriate University Facilities leadership personnel prior to work.

5.) Ongoing Monitoring

Following completion of the work plan, the occupant(s) should closely monitor any previously affected areas and immediately report any reoccurence and continued issues.  University Facilities staff will conduct follow-up monitoring on a case-by-case basis.  Reporting shall be done via the EMaint system or direct notification to the Facilities Service Desk at (202) 319-5121.



Facilities personnel will receive annual safety training in Hazard Communication, Personal Protective Equipment and Mold Awareness. Additional information related to mold issues is available via the EPA "Mold Course" which provides information on both mold prevention and remediation.