The Army is committed to providing safe quality housing, barracks, and other facilities for our Soldiers, Families, and civilians. A critical aspect of this commitment is ensuring all facilities are free of hazardous mold.
As the Army Materiel Command (AMC) major subordinate command responsible for managing the Regular Army’s infrastructure and for overseeing the Army’s privatized housing projects, Installation Management Command (IMCOM) has undertaken a holistic, global effort to reduce the risk of hazardous mold in Army facilities and housing.
This effort has been informed by the Army’s public health experts and is grounded in the Army Public Health Center’s (APHC) Technical Guides 277 titled “Army Mold Remediation Guidance,” and 278 titled “Mold Assessment Guide”. IMCOM applies these publication’s definition of hazardous mold and mitigation/remediation standards across the command.
Mold is a naturally occurring microscopic fungi that can grow on indoor and outdoor surfaces. Mold can live in all environments, climates, and seasons but requires oxygen, moisture, and a nutrient source to grow. The types of molds and their abundance in an area depend on the availability of nutrients like dirt, water, and temperature. Molds grow well on cardboard, ceiling tiles, paper, and wood products.
Mildew is a general term used to refer to certain kinds of mold or fungus that typically grow in a flat growth pattern and found on shower walls, windowsills, and other places with high moisture levels.
Black/Toxic Mold is a generic term used to refer to toxigenic molds, or molds that produce mycotoxins. This term typically refers to the species stachybotrys chartarum, which can be identified in water damaged buildings.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q1. How does the Army define mold?
A1. Mold is a naturally occurring microscopic fungi that can grow on indoor and outdoor surfaces. Mold can live in all environments, climates, and seasons but requires oxygen, moisture, and a nutrient source to grow. The types of molds and their abundance depend on the availability of nutrients like dirt, water, and temperature. Molds grow well on cardboard, ceiling tiles, paper, and wood products.
Q2: Why the big effort to counter mold now?
A2: Last fall, Army senior leaders directed IMCOM and installation leaders to inspect Army facilities with an emphasis on life, health, and safety with a focus on mold. More importantly, one of IMCOM’s core competencies is to manage the regular Army’s infrastructure. We recognize Soldiers, Families and Civilians are concerned with mold, but may lack sufficient knowledge on how to properly identify it, report it and, when appropriate, mitigate it. As part of this operation, IMCOM professionals will inform and educate members of the Army community of roles they can play to help increase our collective understanding of how to think about and deal with mold on our installations. IMCOM professionals are also training and certifying inspectors to meet the standards established for this operation.
Q3: To date, what has been done to remediate these mold issues?
A3: Between November 2022 and January 2023, leaders inspected active Army barracks, childcare facilities, and Army-owned family housing (67,859 facilities). 97% of facilities were mold free, the mold that was found was immediately remediated to standard.
IMCOM held a Counter Mold Workshop Jan.10-12, 2023, with healthcare professionals, industry experts, DoD partners, and garrison leadership to find ways to raise awareness and prevent and mitigate mold. This effort was informed by the Army’s public health experts and grounded in the Army Public Health Center’s (APHC) Technical Guides 277 titled “Army Mold Remediation Guidance,” and 278 titled “Mold Assessment Guide”. IMCOM applies the definition of hazardous mold and mitigation/ remediation standards across the command from these publications.
Q4: What does mold treatment entail?
A4: Remediation plans will vary depending on the extent of damage. Smaller, isolated areas of less than 10 square feet of visible mold can generally be remediated by either housing staﬀ or tenants. Larger areas of visible mold may require experienced professional mold remediation teams. During treatment the area will be contained to prevent the mold from spreading to other areas. All surfaces will be cleaned.
Q5: How will the Army enable its personnel to protect against and prevent mold in the future?
A5: Identified Soldiers will attend a Mold Assessment and Remediation in Buildings training course. The course teaches industry-standard mold remediation practices these Soldiers can bring back to their units and apply at their installation. Following a 100-question exam at the end of the course, participants are awarded a Mold Inspector/Remediator certification. As part of the training, participants are taught how mold forms and receive hands-on training with specialized tools and equipment that they will use to inspect, identify, and treat mold. The emphasis is on prevention as the best way to manage mold.
Q6: Is the Army treating all mold as if it were hazardous or toxic?
A6: APHC treatment guidelines are based on the size of an affected area to make it easier for exterminators to select the appropriate treatment. When in doubt, caution is advised.
Q7: If Soldiers reside in a barracks that is known to have mold, are they entitled to any additional health claims or considerations? Is there a registry anywhere?
A7: U.S. Army Medical Command (MEDCOM) established a Housing Environmental Health Response Registry to address Army family concerns about Army family housing and related health issues.
Q8: How Do I get rid of Mold?
A8: It is impossible to get rid of all mold and mold spores indoors; some mold spores will be found floating through the air and in house dust. The mold spores will not grow if moisture is not present. Indoor mold growth can and should be prevented or controlled by controlling moisture indoors. Where there is mold/mildew growth, it must be cleaned up the water leak repaired. Simply cleaning up without fixing the water problem will not prevent the mold from coming back.
Q9: Who should do the cleanup?
A9: Clean up is the individual responsibility of every Soldier, Civilian professional, or Family member living or working in Army-maintained barracks, housing, or other facility in the prevention phase. Accomplish this through daily cleaning, using shower fans and ensuring they work, drying surface areas and fixing water or moisture leaks as soon as they are identified.
Who should do the cleanup also depends on several factors. Smaller, isolated areas of less than 10 square feet of visible mold can generally be remediated by either housing staﬀ or tenants. If it larger that 10 square feet but less than about 25 square feet, the tenant should put in a work order. Contact DPW via 24/7 hotline through ArMA, the Army’s on-line work order submission and tracking system at ArmyMaintenance.com (ArMA).