It wasn’t the latest hit from Slowcoaster or the Belle Comedians that brought the roof down in the CHSR-FM offices two weeks ago, but rather some deceptively quiet fungus.
The campus radio station offices in the SUB were quarantined after the discovery of a potential black mould-like substance in the ceiling. UNB Facilities Management have wasted no time dealing with the issue, pulling down the studio’s roof and any other damaged surfaces.
Wayne Braye, asbestos coordinator for UNB Facilities Management, said he already knew that the older wing of the SUB was a concern when it came to leaks, with the majority of the water infiltration occurring in the outside wall and around the windows.
“We also noticed that a leak was also occurring in the middle of the room,” he said. “We have removed the flooring above this leak and solved this path of water infiltration; the water was migrating between two layers of finished flooring.”
As fungus thrives in damp environments, the first step Facilities Management took upon arrival was to eliminate any possible moisture still in the area. A bevy of industrial dehumidifiers, some shipped up from Saint John, are positioned to keep moisture levels down during the cleaning process.
Braye said a simple wipe-down of the affected surfaces with mild soap and water is enough to impede the growth of mould.
“Typically plaster-constructed walls, being porous, won’t support the growth of microbes,” he said. “Our remediation of the affected ceiling and drying out of the walls & flooring will eliminate the possibility of the growth of fungi.”
At this point, whether or not the fungal substance was black mould (stachybotrys chartarum) is still unknown, and seems to be of secondary importance to the clean-up effort. Facilities Management plans to follow-up with an indoor air quality assessment by Stantec Environmental to check for any fungal growth in the walls, ceilings or air.
While WorkSafeNB currently maintains no guideline legislation concerning mould in public places, Health Canada documentation does state that “ . . . indoor airborne mould (spore) concentrations and species types that are consistent with outdoor concentrations and species types are usually considered normal. When mould types that are not present in the outdoor air dominate the indoor air within a building, this suggests that the indoor air quality is being degraded.”
As for CHSR-FM, program director Mark Kilfoil said rebuilding will occur once the cleaning process is over and testing has ruled the offices clear of mould growth.
It seems unlikely, though, that they’ll be spinning Incubus’s 1995 album Fungus Amongus any time soon.