Texas Woman’s University strives to provide a safe and healthy space for learning, living, and working. When environmental issues such as air quality or moisture concerns arise in TWU buildings, Facilities Management works to address the issue as quickly as possible.
Any member of the TWU community who has a concern about the quality of their indoor environment, or who wishes to have indoor air quality monitoring performed, should complete the Indoor Air Quality Questionnaire to alert TWU’s Office of Environmental Health & Safety.
Response to Environmental Concerns
If an Indoor Air Quality assessment is requested, a member of the Office of Environmental Health & Safety is assigned to conduct a complete investigation of the request.
- Upon the staff member’s arrival to the space, a short interview is conducted with the requesting individual to establish the exact nature of the issue
- Air quality testing/monitoring is conducted per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines, including checking humidity, temperature, dew point, dust, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), carbon dioxide, and carbon monoxide levels
- A thorough visual and olfactory inspection is conducted in all spaces (closets, in and around furniture, etc.) to identify any problem areas that may be present
- An Indoor Air Quality report is completed by the staff member to include the data collected by the air quality monitoring device as well as information gathered during the inspection
- Corrective measures are initiated to correct any problems that are discovered that may have contributed to the issue, if any
- If needed, a follow-up discussion will be conducted with the requesting individual. Depending on the nature of the issues identified, a series of follow-up inspections may be necessary
Symptoms of Exposure
Members of the TWU community who have health-related concerns they believe may be related to their on-campus environment should submit the Indoor Air Quality Questionnaire. EH&S will contact the requestor to schedule an investigation of the area.
Symptoms of exposure to certain environmental conditions can be very subjective. Immunocompromised individuals may experience health effects when exposed to certain environmental conditions, and others may not have any symptoms at all. For additional information pertaining to environmental concerns, along with prevention and safety tips, please visit TWU’s Office of Environmental Health & Safety.
Ways to Prevent Environmental Concerns
- Maintain good housekeeping practices and remove trash regularly
- Always allow wet or damp items to dry thoroughly before storing
- Never allow water or wet items to sit on surfaces for long periods
- Clean food and beverage messes inside cooking appliances promptly
- Maintain proper ventilation throughout the room; proper air circulation is necessary to provide a healthy indoor environment
- Maintain proper clearances for all heating and air equipment; do not obstruct return air grilles and/or supply diffusers
- Report any water problems, including heating and air, ventilation, leaks, and/or excess moisture in your room, immediately to Facilities Management
Managing Mold and Mildew
Mold is a naturally occurring fungus that is found in the environment. It grows on plants, food, and even walls. While some molds (such as the ones responsible for producing cheese and penicillin) are beneficial, others may be a serious health threat.
Molds produce microscopic cells called spores. Mold spores are present everywhere, both indoors and outdoors, and spread easily through the air. Mold is present in all buildings. It is only when mold levels exceed those outside that we say there is a “mold problem.” The most common “problem” mold in indoor environments is mold that grows in buildings when the right conditions are met.
Mold needs a food source, measurable moisture, and mild to warm temperatures to survive. The food source can be any organic materials such as dust, books, papers, animal dander, soap scum, wood, particleboard, paint, wallpaper, carpet, and upholstery. When such materials become and stay damp, especially in dark areas with poor air circulation, mold may grow. Average humidity levels above 60% or greater and average temperatures of 75℉ or greater can provide the right conditions for mold growth.
Flooding, pipe leaks, leaky roofs, moisture in walls, high indoor humidity, and poor heating/air-conditioning system design and operation can create a damp environment that mold needs to grow. If you smell a musty odor or see mold, you may have a mold problem. If you suspect you have a mold problem, you should contact TWU’s Office of Environmental Health & Safety (EH&S) for more information.
EH&S has highly trained professionals who can come out and assess your area to determine if any mold is present. If mold growth is present, mold remediation may be necessary. Mold remediation is the cleanup and removal of mold growth from surfaces and/or contents in a building. It also refers to actions taken to prevent mold from growing. You can help inhibit the growth of mold in buildings and improve indoor air quality for all occupants by keeping humidity below 60%, reporting water leaks immediately, ensuring that your trash is put out regularly, and that food is stored in appropriate locations. We can all do our part to ensure the health of TWU’s buildings for everyone!
Contact Central Plant or submit a work order for the following concerns:
- Temperature or humidity issues
- Stagnant or stale air
- Drafty air
- Particulates or dirt coming from the HVAC system
- Pressure balance issues
Contact FMC or submit a work order for odors associated with the following:
- Rotten eggs
- Sewer smell
- Musty/stagnant air
Contact EH&S (940-898-4001, option 3) for strong or unusual odors associated with the following:
- Spills or accidental releases of hazardous materials
NOTE: All incidental releases of chemicals should be handled as indicated by the associated Safety Data Sheet (SDS) and lab or work area standard procedures. SDS for research labs, art studios, and facilities areas can be found on TWU’s CampusOptics Safety Data Sheet Portal.
Contact TWU’s Department of Public Safety (940-898-2911) if you smell a gas odor, or if a gas monitor alarm sounds.
- Provide DPS with your name, the location of the leak, and where you will meet emergency responders
- Warn others in the immediate vicinity
- Evacuate the immediate area
- Notify your supervisor or resident assistant, as appropriate
- Prevent the use of or remove sources of ignition (cigarettes, electrical equipment, etc.) in the area
- Meet with and assist emergency response personnel
- Do not re-enter the area until cleared by authorized personnel
For any questions or more information on indoor air quality contact TWU’s Office of Environmental Health & Safety at 940-898-4001, option 3, or email@example.com.