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Westlife Environmental LLC - (623)889-4843 9915 W. Bell Rd., #420, Sun City, AZ 85351 - © 2013

Is it possible to identify mold without sampling and its inherent costs?


That really depends on the circumstances involved in the project being evaluated. The determining factor in this is usually whether an identification of species is required or not (due to health or legal concerns). If a suspected impact area is determined to have growth present, but identification of the specific species or family is required - the only way to do that is through sampling.


However, most projects do not require that mold be speciated (in the onset of the project), only that it be noted to be present and requires removal. In these cases, a visual identification may fulfill this need - without incurring the time delay or expense of sampling


In an effort to fulfill my promise to my clients to be mindful of their financial commitment during a project, I would much rather see the expenses of lab processed determinations be applied to the PRV (Post Remediation Verification) portion of a project. There - sampling is imperative. It’s required to be able to insure, with certainty, that the initial impact has been successfully removed. Mold spores and fragments remaining after remediation can not be seen by the naked eye at this point in a project - it must be quantified as being removed or remaining through scientific sampling.

Sampling methods used

on a mold project


Airs Sampling -

We use a pump to draw air through a sampling cassette to trap spores and microscopic pieces of mold structure to determine the elevation of the counts available in the air being sampled. We compare the results from any interior sample to results taken in an exterior “benchmark” sample to determine whether the result warrant a “Pass’ or a “Fail”.


Surface Swabs -

We utilized two basic types of surface swabs in sampling.


One is a swab of the cleaned surfaces that is sealed and sent to the lab for processing.

The other is an ATP Swab - which is processed on site to return almost instant results.


The lab processed swab provides a quantitative result - with remaining species listed in the lab report- and is only going to show results for mold present. A separate swab must be taken if there is a concern for bacteria being tested.


An ATP swab provides a qualitative result. This type of sample will return positive result - graded by a numerical scale - that will tell us if there is biological debris present. While it will not identify whether an elevated result is mold or bacteria - neither should be present in a post-remediation condition.


Because an ATP Swab provides immediate results - if an area requires recleaning, it can be performed immediately after a failed sample, and the area can then be resampled - without having to leave the site and returning at a later date.

Plated Samples -

This type of sample is taken on a media plate (just like in high school biology class). If we are looking for a specific species or family of mold, we can use a type of media in the plate to promote THAT type of mold to grow. The sample is incubated by the lab and the resulting growth tells us the species of mold(s) that is/are viable (able to grow) in the sampled airs space.


Tape Lifts -

This is a method of taking a sample from a very limited spot for lab returned results. Westlife uses this method reservedly because of its limitations to provide a true picture of a large surface area.


There are additional sampling methods that are little used, but may be used to fit a specific task at hand when needed.


Moisture Metering -

EVERY area of a remediated project is first sampled for moisture content before any of the previously mentioned sampling is performed. We want to know that all materials have been returned to their normal moisture levels before investing our client’s funds in any cost producing samples.


The type of samplings we perform are determined by the type and accuracy of the results we are looking for, and the costs involved in obtaining those results.


We can’t always opt to use the cheapest methods, because that method may not provide the results required to best serve our client (for an MD, in a sale, or in court, etc) . Westlife will always discuss our sampling tactics, costs and results with our client, and we will always receive our client’s permission before we begin sampling.

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