April Showers Bring May Flowers to Texas

Spring brings warm weather and blossoming plants and flowers! Most Texans are more than happy to welcome the sun after the February winter storm, but with spring comes airborne allergens and molds. ERC is in full swing of conducting Indoor Air Quality testing after frozen pipes burst leading to flooding and potential mold growth in damp areas. Health effects from exposure to mold can vary greatly depending on the person and the amount of mold in the building. Symptoms that may occur include coughing, wheezing, runny nose, and sore throat. IAQ assessments are a proactive way of maintaining the health of your business and the people in the building. It’s never too late for an IAQ assessment!

The new season also inspires days outside at the park enjoying the warm weather. ERC is proud to help improve local parks, including dog parks, with our construction division. ERC recently constructed and installed concrete and gravel pads with stone bench seating areas for a DFW area dog park. ERC’s Project Manager, Will Springer, was challenged with the task of making the new seating areas exactly the same as the previously installed seating areas. Our team was able to not only complete the entire project within 23 calendar days, but also with no issues and a beautiful outcome! We are grateful for the tail waggin’ experience at the dog park and look forward to future ways of improving our local communities. Let’s build together!

Follow ERC on Facebook and LinkedIn for more news and updates!

 

Source: Texas Department of Licensing & Regulation (TDLR)

For more information about molds, visit these sites:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

Consumer Mold Information Sheet

Meet the Key Team Members of ERC!

We are proud to introduce our team and newest employees! ERC is constantly expanding and growing our offices to meet our clients’ needs.

From left to right, starting with the top row:

TOP ROW

  • Megan Allgeier, Office Administration, Dallas
  • Bobbi Blaire, Accounting/Office Manager, Houston
  • Max Sanati, Construction Engineer, Houston

ROW TWO

  • Emily Saravia, Sr. Administrative Assistant, Houston
  • Kambiz Moayedi, Vice President, Houston
  • Shelly Horan, Project Coordinator, Houston
  • Henry Akinniyi, Field Engineer, Houston – NEW in 2021

ROW THREE

  • Will Springer, Jr. Project Manager, Dallas – NEW in 2021
  • Kommy M. Azarpour, President, Houston
  • Dan Tibbals, Sr. Project Manager, Houston

ROW FOUR

  • Mo El-Jechi, Field Engineer, Dallas
  • Kevin Rezvanipour, DFW Area Manager, Dallas
  • Ann Latourette, Project Manager, Houston
  • Bryan Lord, Construction Coordinator, Houston – NEW in 2021

ROW FIVE

  • Sarah Hearn, Receptionist/Administrative, Houston
  • Atzimba Paterson, Proposal Coordinator, Houston
  • Kammy Moayedi, Field Engineer, Houston

As we reflect on 2020, we are thankful for the opportunities to continue serving Texas throughout the unprecedented pandemic. We have been able to adapt and find new solutions to work smarter and safer. In the midst of all this… we GREW!

This year we:

  • Celebrated 30 years of service,
  • Expanded our Dallas/Fort Worth construction division,
  • Purchased a new permanent Corporate Office in Houston,
  • Submitted over 550 proposals,
  • Were awarded more than 610 projects,
  • Renewed 44 master services agreements,
  • Signed 7 new master services agreements,
  • Entered into 6 new Job Order Contracting (JOC) agreements, and
  • Expanded into Louisiana with both environmental and construction.

We already have so much planned for 2021, including our first mold webinar (keep an eye out for an invitation) and continued growth of our construction division – both in Houston and Dallas! Stay up to date on all ERC news by subscribing to our newsletter (link above), follow our blog posts, like us on Facebook, and follow us on Linkedin.

From our ERC family to yours, we wish you a happy holiday season and a prosperous new year!

Dallas Construction

ERC is a Small Business Enterprise with two divisions; environmental and construction. We have made a tremendous impact in the Houston area landing a 5-year Job Order Contract (JOC) with a major governmental entity in Southeast Texas. Our focus during 2020 has been to continue growing the construction division, both in Houston and in Dallas. We have succeeded, despite the coronavirus!

ERC recently completed a construction contract for a complete build out of an additional storage room for a fire station in North Texas. Due to the current pandemic and COVID-19 guidelines, the city has set in place extra precautionary measures.

This fire station was outfitted for the additional 2-story storage room to store COVID-19 personal protection equipment as well as added emergency materials. ERC’s Project Manager, Will Springer, drove the project from commencement to successful completion within one month.

Know Your Molds!

What is mold and what causes it? Mold is a type of fungus that is present in our natural environment. Mold spores, which are tiny microscopic ‘seeds’, can be found everywhere, including inside buildings, and are a part of the general dust found in buildings and offices. These spores can start growing on building materials and furnishings if they get wet or stay moist. Mold growth should not be allowed in buildings and offices. Eventually, the mold will damage what it is growing on, which may include both the building and personal belongings. The key to preventing mold growth is to prevent moisture problems and quickly fix and dry any water leaks or spills that might occur.

What is the difference between mold and mildew? Mildew is a type of mold or fungus. A lot of people use this name to describe small black spots of fungus that can start to grow on damp surfaces. If mildew appears, that means there is a moisture problem.

What are the health concerns about mold? Health effects from exposure to mold can vary greatly depending on the person, and the amount of mold in the building. Symptoms that may occur include coughing, wheezing, runny nose and sore throat. People with asthma or mold allergies may notice their asthma or allergy symptoms worsen. Individuals with a severely weakened immune system who are exposed to moldy environments are at risk of developing serious fungal respiratory infections. TDLR recommends that people consult a health care provider if they are concerned about the effects of a moldy environment on their health.

What can be done about indoor mold? Investigate and correct moisture problems and remove mold growth. If mold can be seen or if a musty odor is present, a careful inspection of the building should be conducted. Pay attention to hidden areas, such as plumbing access areas, crawlspaces, behind mirrors and furniture, attics, closets and cupboards.

Correcting a mold problem requires fixing the underlying moisture problem, removing the mold, and keeping the building clean and dry in the future. Mold, generally, can be cleaned from non-porous surfaces such as concrete, metal, glass, tile, and solid wood. However, absorbent (porous) surfaces such as drywall, carpet, fleecy furnishings and insulation are more difficult to clean and often require removal.

Merely applying a chemical such as bleach to drywall, without removing the mold source, is not an effective, permanent solution. Painting over mold is also not effective, even Kilz doesn’t remove mold, it just hides it and often only temporarily. Personal belongings can be kept if there is no mold growth on them. These items may need a deep cleaning to remove mold particles (spores) that have settled in the fabric.

The building owner may want to hire a licensed Mold Consultant company, such as ERC, to determine the extent of a mold problem and to develop a remediation protocol to address it. Under TDLR rules, the remediation of 25 contiguous square feet or more of visible mold in properties with 10 or more units must be conducted by a licensed Mold Remediation Contractor. Small areas of mold growth (less than 25 contiguous square feet) can be cleaned/removed by an owner or by maintenance staff. Please note that testing to determine what kind of mold is present is not required prior to remediation or cleaning. However, to properly measure the effectiveness of a remediation project, testing before and after is highly recommended.

Source: Texas Department of Licensing & Regulation (TDLR)

For more information about molds, visit these sites:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

Consumer Mold Information Sheet

ERC Remains Strong for YOU!

ERC is closely monitoring the recent events of COVID-19. We would like to assure you that we are fully operational and our commitment to our clients continues unscathed. All necessary precautions have been taken in to place at all of our ERC locations to include heightened personal hygiene and workplace sanitation.

ERC’s continuity plans are set and in place ready to support our clients at any given moment via virtual meetings and secure file sharing. To keep within the best interest of all parties involved, any cancellations or postponements of any kind will be communicated swiftly and efficiently.

As new information comes to light, we will make the proper accommodations as to better serve you. We remain calm and alert as we come together during this time of need and support our fellow communities.

Thanks for doing business with us.

It’s a beautiful thing when a career and a passion come together.

ERC President, Kommy M. Azarpour, was recently invited to deliver a presentation on Mold in Our Environment to the Senior Building Coordinators at Prairie View A&M University. The presentation covered the most common molds found in our environment, sources, locations, prevention and proactive approach. We, at ERC are committed to providing the utmost customer service to our clients and at the same time acting as a source of valuable information to our clients’ faculty and staff. Being able to provide a sense of health and safety awareness is among one of our top priorities at ERC.

Upcoming Event:

Be sure to stop by our Booth and say hello!

“We all require and want respect, man or woman, black or white. It’s our basic human right.” ~ Aretha Franklin

 

Texas is my Valentine!

Go Out With a Bang!

2019 is coming to an end and ERC plans on ushering in the new year with arms wide open! We’ve come a long way this year and will continue to strive for success in everything that we do from start to finish.  As our business continues to grow so will our team; please welcome the newest team members to ERC; Daniel Tibbals – Sr. Field Engineer and William Springer – Jr. Project Manager. Keep an eye out for our 2020 Newsletter to include upcoming projects and a short bio on our newest team members!

 

Our First Harvey Project with the City of Houston

In August 2017, Hurricane Harvey devastated the City of Houston. The city government worked hard to get city services back up and running. With so much work to do, priorities were set. Obviously, critical services, such as water and power, had to come first – get the citizens back to work. In the mix, six (6) Neighborhood Libraries were closed due to damage incurred by the storm. The McGovern-Stella Link Neighborhood Library was one of these affected.

During the summer of 2018, ERC responded to a Request for Proposal (RFP) for this library, one of the first put out by the City of Houston for a project that would be funded through FEMA after Hurrican

Grand Reopening Twitter Post

e Harvey devastated the city. The project included flooring, mill work, minor repairs, and electrical. ERC was low bidder and the process began.

In addition to the renovations for flood damage, ERC was able to coordinate some minor changes unrelated to Harvey and complete them while onsite. This included some wallpaper removal and additional painting – namely to spruce up the place a bit more.

A benefit of ERC’s combined resume of environmental and construction is the ability to see things other contractors don’t. Our project manager noticed mold growth in the back office area and notified the library staff. Since the building sat vacant from August 2017 through January 2019, when renovations started, this was to be expected. Remediation was complete and ERC was able to complete the build back as part of the original contract.

This is a beautiful library on the edge of Bellaire. Thanks to Harvey, it has a fresh coat of paint, new carpet, and refinished woodwork. If you live or work in the area, we encourage you to check it out! The staff are very friendly and more than willing to help. Mostly – they’re glad to be back at work and open to the public.

To see a summary of our work: http://erc-tx.com/portfolio/mcgovern-stella-link-library/

For more information about the library: http://houstonlibrary.org/location/mcgovern-stella-link-neighborhood-library

Benzene – What You Should Know

From the Deer Park Texas Website

On Sunday, March 17, 2019 at approximately 10AM, a storage tank caught fire at the Intercontinental Terminals Company (ITC) Deer Park facility, located at 1943 Independence Parkway.

Industry neighbors and multiple local agencies actively fought the fire to prevent it from spreading and to extinguish it as quickly as possible.

As of early Wednesday morning, March 20, the fire had been extinguished.”

During the early morning hours of Thursday, March 21, 2019, Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo issued a statement…

Early this morning, certain air quality readings were found to be above our very conservative air quality standards. The cities of Deer Park and Galena Park issued shelter-in-place orders.

At this time, air quality readings that we are monitoring are at lower levels, and the city of Deer Park has lifted its shelter-in-place order. Galena Park’s shelter-in-place order is still in effect.

We know these events are concerning, and we are continuing to monitor benzene levels. If you believe you are experiencing symptoms related to benzene exposure, please call a  healthcare professional.”

ERC Teams were called into action early Thursday morning to assist clients with assessing indoor air quality (IAQ) in facilities within the shelter-in-place borders. ERC’s long background with assessing IAQ gives clients confidence that we can help them manage this critical situation.

What are we testing for? Benzene and Toluene. Both of these chemicals were released into the air after the fire was extinguished and clients are looking to make sure their workers/students are safe to return to work/school.

About Benzene: It is a colorless, flammable liquid with a sweet odor. It evaporates quickly when exposed to air. Benzene is formed from natural processes, such as volcanoes and forest fires, but most exposure to benzene results from human activities. It is among the 20 most widely used chemicals in the United States.

The Department of Health and Human Services has determined that benzene is a known carcinogen (can cause cancer). Both the International Agency for Cancer Research and the EPA have determined that benzene is carcinogenic to humans. Exposure to benzene may be harmful to the reproductive organs.

About Toluene:  It is an aromatic hydrocarbon. It is a colorless, water-insoluble liquid with the smell associated with paint thinners. It is a mono-substituted benzene derivative, consisting of a CH3 group attached to a phenyl group. The effects of toluene on animals are similar to those seen in humans. The main effect of toluene is on the brain and nervous system, but animals exposed to moderate or high levels of toluene also show harmful effects in their liver, kidneys, and lungs and impaired immune function.

What Can You Do?

  • Do not touch any substance, residue, or particles from the plume (smoke).
  • Wash your hands and exposed skin with soap and water thoroughly for 3-5 minutes if you have come in contact with residue/particles.
  • Bathe your pet while, wearing gloves, if they have come in contact with reside/particles from the fire.
  • Move your pet indoors to reduce contact with any substance, residue, or particles from the plume.
  • Contact your healthcare provider if you feel you or a loved one are experiencing any related symptoms.
  • Check on elderly neighbors or those who you are concerned about.

(This information and more can be found at ReadyHarris.org – Harris County Homeland Security and Emergency Management.)

If you are a business owner/manager and want to have your facility assessed for these chemicals, please call ERC at 713-290-9444 or through our website Contact Us

Helping with Harvey Recovery…

… One Construction Site at a Time

The Wikipedia entry for Hurricane Harvey reads: “Hurricane Harvey is tied with 2005’s Hurricane Katrina as the costliest tropical cyclone on record, inflicting $125 billion in damage, primarily from catastrophic rainfall-triggered flooding…”

Hurricane Harvey before and after
Harvey – Before and After

Harvey in numbers:

  • $125 billion in damages (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration)
  • Over 300,000 structures flooded
  • Up to 500,000 cars flooded
  • About 336,000 customers lost power
  • Approximately 40,000 people in shelters (Texas and Louisiana)
  • More than 50 inches (average) rainfall in four days
  • More than 80 lives lost

Recovery has been slow. FEMA, insurance… well, government just doesn’t move very fast and insurance companies have been bogged with claims. The losses were just catastrophic and will take time to get everything back to normal.

 

ERC is helping recover from this widespread catastrophe. In 2018, ERC was awarded the first FEMA-related contract through the City of Houston’s General Services Division. We are renovating the McGovern-Stella Link Neighborhood Library, part of the Houston Public Library System, after flood waters damaged the building. The scope of work includes flooring, electrical, millwork, and painting.

McGovern-Stella Link Neighborhood Library before ERC Renovation
McGovern-Stella Link Neighborhood Library – Before Harvey, Street view.

What makes this project different? The paperwork. In an effort to insure the City of Houston and FEMA are on the same page as to what work is covered and what will be reimbursed to the City, this project’s paperwork was fine-tuned to address this unique situation.

“We are thrilled to be working with the City of Houston,” states Kommy M. Azarpour, CAPM, PE, president of ERC, “We’ve had a long relationship with the City on the environmental side. This isn’t our first construction project with the City, but it is the first in our 2019 focus on our construction division.”

“We want to impress the City of Houston with our professionalism, while at the same time, being easy to work with,” says Max Sanati, ERC’s superintendent of the project.

When the project is complete, we’ll post photos to our website, so please return to see the end result!

If you’d like more information on what Houston is doing to help recovery and their efforts to reduce the risk of this happening again, visit Houston Recovers. If you don’t live in Houston, but want information about your nearby affected area, there are links to get you to your neighborhood information.