Mold Myths Busted!

MYTH:  Buildings can, and should, be completely free of mold.

FALSE:  Mold spores are part of the natural environment and are all around us both when we are inside and outside. It would be virtually impossible (and totally unnecessary for most people) to remove every mold spore from a building. Greater amounts of mold can pose health risks and cause significant damage to a building if it is not taken care of promptly.

MYTH:  Once you’ve killed mold, removal of materials is optional.

FALSE:  The allergens in mold are still present and can become airborne even when mold is dead. All affected building materials should be removed or encapsulated (if they cannot be removed, such as studs).

MYTH:  Bleach kills mold.

FALSE:  Bleach can kill certain kinds of mold on nonporous surfaces. However, it is unclear if it kills all kinds of mold on every type of surface. Its effectiveness on porous surfaces like wood is still very much in question. Usually, all bleach does is bleach the mold so it’s not as visible.

MYTH:  Mold remediation is something you can easily handle yourself.

FALSE:  Mold remediation can be handled for small areas fairly easily. However, efforts in removing mold may accelerate mold growth if not properly contained and remediated. For a pervasive problem, the help of a professional is highly recommended and often regulated by the State. In fact, large areas of mold (more than 25 square feet) must be removed by a licensed mold remediation contractor, as overseen by a licensed mold consultant firm.

MYTH:  A small amount of mold generally doesn’t indicate a problem.

FALSE:  A small amount of mold, especially adjacent to an area you can’t see, can be just the tip of the iceberg. Only a licensed mold assessor technician can tell you for sure the extent of your mold issue.

MYTH:  Mold is always visible.

FALSE:  Seeing isn’t believing when it comes to mold, as not all types of mold are visible.

MYTH:  A mustiness smell indicates mold.

FALSE:  Smelling isn’t believing when it comes to mold either. Some mustiness may be just that, moisture. However, any moisture intrusion, no matter how small, should be dried up immediately to avoid mold growth.

MYTH:  You can identify the species of mold that’s growing in your building.

FALSE: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that there are anywhere from tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands of mold and fungi species — far too many to identify. Laboratory analysis is required to identify the species of mold growing in a building. A licensed mold assessor technician can assist with collecting samples and obtaining this analysis.

MYTH: You shouldn’t worry about a small spot of mold.

FALSE: In reality, a mold problem can become a bigger issue if the moisture problem is not addressed. What’s more, mold can spread to any organic surface, as well as to the HVAC system. This can result in widespread damage and costly repairs.

MYTH:  Once the mold is gone, it won’t come back.

FALSE:  Removing mold is one thing but resolving the water issue is something else. The only way to completely stop mold from returning is to resolve high humidity, moisture, or water problems that cause mold to grow promptly. The State requires any water-intrusion related repairs to be completed prior to mold remediation.

MYTH:  You only have to worry about mold after a water leak.

FALSE:  The perfect environment for mold is a moisture source and porous materials. Anywhere there is a higher level of heat, and any amount of water (causing elevated humidity levels) can result in the perfect conditions for mold.

MYTH:  Mold makes people sick.

FALSE:  Mold affects people differently and these effects can vary. Some people can be allergic to the allergens formed by mold. Others won’t be affected until the mold growth is severe. Still others won’t be affected at all.


Project Highlights

With the pandemic year behind us but not completely gone, the lingering effects can still be felt throughout all industries but no more so than the small business owner.  ERC continues to provide top-notch construction and environmental service across the Houston and DFW area. ERC provides clients with unsurpassed levels of service as a natural result of our founding principles:

  • Professionalism in products and service
  • Absolute Integrity in work performance
  • Consistent service deliver
  • Quality workmanship
  • On-time completion of every project
  • Conservative budgeting & cost analysis
  • Sustainability

Take a look back at some of our project highlights.

Sam Houston Historic Park

City of Dickinson City Hall



Humble Underground Water Pipe

Joslin Power Plant

Learn about Lead

What is Lead? Lead is a naturally occurring element found in small amounts in the earth’s crust. While it has some beneficial uses, it can be toxic to humans and animals, causing health issues.

Lead-Based Paint (LBP): Lead-based paints were banned for residential use in 1978. Homes and facilities built in the U.S. before 1978 are likely to have some lead-based paint. When the paint peels and cracks, it makes lead paint chips and dust. Any surface covered with lead-based paint where the paint may wear by rubbing or friction is likely to cause lead dust including windows, doors, floors, porches, stairways, and cabinets.

Lead in Water: Lead can enter drinking water when plumbing materials that contain lead corrode, especially where the water has high acidity or low mineral content that corrodes pipes and fixtures. The most common sources of lead in drinking water are lead pipes, faucets, and fixtures. In buildings with lead pipes that connect the building to the water main, also known as lead services lines, these pipes are typically the most significant source of lead in the water.  Lead pipes are more likely to be found in older cities and buildings built before 1986.  Among buildings without lead service lines, the most common problem is with brass or chrome-plated brass faucets and plumbing with lead solder.

Health Effects of Lead: Lead-based paint and lead-contaminated dust are the most widespread and hazardous sources of lead exposure for young children in the United States. No safe level of lead exposure in children has been identified and there is no cure for lead poisoning. That is why preventing exposure to lead, especially among children, is important. Finding and removing sources of lead from the child’s environment is needed to prevent further exposure.

Exposure to lead can seriously harm a child’s health and cause well-documented adverse effects such as:

  • Damage to the brain and nervous system
  • Slowed growth and development
  • Learning and behavior problems
  • Hearing and speech problems

This can cause:

  • Lower IQ
  • Decreased ability to pay attention
  • Underperformance in school

There is also evidence that childhood exposure to lead can cause long-term harm.

Testing for Lead and Abatement: If a building was constructed before 1978, then it most likely contains lead. A certified lead-based paint inspector or risk assessor, such as ERC, can conduct an inspection to determine whether the building or a portion of the building has lead-based paint and where it is located. This will tell you the areas where lead-safe work practices should be used for renovation, repair, or painting jobs. A certified risk assessor can conduct a risk assessment telling you whether the building currently has any lead hazards from lead in paint, dust, or soil.

If lead is located, the risk assessor will create an abatement plan to address any hazards. Lead abatement is an activity designed to permanently eliminate lead hazards. Abatement must be performed by a certified lead abatement firm due to specialized techniques not typical of most contractors.

For more information about lead, visit these sites:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

Texas Department of State Health Services (TDSHS)

Procurement??? Nobody has time for that!

The procurement process for competitive bids can be quite labor intensive, expensive, and time consuming.


Why not skip the hassle and use a cooperative contract!


Members of a national purchasing cooperative include: colleges, universities, counties, municipalities, school districts and other governmental agencies.


Coop membership is FREE to qualifying entities!


As a member of any of the following coops,  you will have access to ERC’s awarded contracts.


By using a cooperative contract with ERC, you can feel secure that you’re doing business with a qualified and vetted business.


Give us a call to learn more and let us quote your next project!


Example of a standard project procurement workflow.
This process generally takes over 90 days.
Example of project procurement flow using a cooperative contract.
This process generally takes less than 30 days.

Disaster Recovery for Tornado Season

Texas averages 132 tornadoes a year. The majority of those tornadoes happen in the months of April, May, and June as cold weather meets the beginning of the summer heat. Tornados tend to take the path of least resistance through open fields, and unfortunately through buildings, houses, and highways. Natural disasters are difficult to prepare for when they come out of the blue with little to no warning. To battle the destruction caused by natural disasters, such as tornados, ERC has multiple Job Order Contracts (JOC) for disaster recovery.

Choice Partners Contract – Disaster Mitigation with Restoration (JOC-IDIQ)

Goodbuy Contract – Disaster Recovery and Remediation (JOC)

TIPS Contract – Disaster Restoration and Emergency Recovery (JOC)

After the tornado of October 2019 ripped through North Texas, ERC sprang into action and our DFW Area Manager, Kevin Rezvanipour, supervised a demolition project of an apartment complex that was damaged beyond repair. Not only was the apartment complex torn apart by the tornado, but it also contained asbestos that had to be abated with the demolition activities.

Even though the aftermath of a natural disaster can be devastating, many people came together to help where they could. Neighbors helped each other by chopping up fallen trees and clearing debris, community centers opened their doors for shelter and supplies, and local businesses offered assistance with damages caused by the tornado. ERC is a firm believer in relieving the stress of cleaning up with our cooperative contracts for disaster recovery and rebuilding.

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

Source: Earth Networks


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:


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


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


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


  • 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


  • 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

Asbestos FAQs

What is Asbestos?  Asbestos is the name given to a group of naturally occurring minerals that are resistant to heat and corrosion.  Asbestos includes the mineral fibers chrysotile, amosite, crocidolite, tremolite, anthophyllite, actinolite and any of these materials that have been chemically treated or altered.

Brief History:  Although the use of asbestos dates back to prehistoric times, the mineral came into popularity during the Industrial Age. Asbestos manufacturing was not a flourishing industry until the late 1800s, when the start of the Industrial Revolution helped sustain strong and steady growth of the industry. That’s when the practical and commercial uses of asbestos, with its myriad applications, became widespread.

Is asbestos hazardous?  Asbestos is harmful if the fibers become airborne and are inhaled. Fibrous asbestos can fracture into fibers small enough that they can penetrate deep into the lungs, where they can interact with the body to cause cancer or other illnesses. Asbestos-containing materials (ACM) that are intact and in good condition are not hazardous to building occupants under normal conditions.

How might I be exposed to asbestos fibers?  Asbestos can enter the environment from weathered natural mineral deposits and fiber releases arising from man-made asbestos products. Asbestos may be found in products like floor tiles; roof shingles; cement; mastic adhesive; automotive brakes and; electrical, plumbing, acoustical, and structural insulation. Asbestos fibers are released into the air when these products are disturbed.

What is my risk of being exposed?  Exposure, generally, is during construction where ACM is disturbed to the point of becoming airborne. While asbestos remains in place and non-friable (cannot be easily broken down and made airborne), adverse health effects are unlikely.

What if I’m exposed?  If you feel you have been exposed, visit your physician. The most common test used to determine if you have been exposed to asbestos is a chest x-ray. The x-ray cannot detect the asbestos fibers themselves, but can detect early signs of lung disease caused by asbestos exposure. Another tool used by physicians, called a pulmonary function test, can also be useful in identifying lung capacity changes. Periodic health examinations by a physician, including a chest x-ray and review of asbestos-based risk factors, can be effective. Asbestos risk factors include levels, frequency, and length of asbestos exposures; period of time since exposures; and smoking history. The combined impact of cigarette smoking and fiber exposures can increase the chances of asbestos-related lung diseases.

How do I avoid exposure?  Pay attention to warning signs around construction sites. Contractors removing asbestos are required to contain these areas so asbestos is not released outside of the work area, to monitor the area for possible exposure, and these areas are to be easily identified with proper signage.

How can I tell if something contains asbestos?  It is not possible to visually determine if a material contains asbestos. The presence of asbestos can only be determined by specific sampling and analytical procedures conducted by qualified individuals.

I have asbestos in my home. Do I need to do anything about it to protect my health?  Most of the time, no. The common materials used in home construction are floor tile, roofing and siding. These materials are very strong and don’t readily crumble and release the asbestos fibers unless they are subjected to strong forces. If you never have the need to disturb these materials, you may be able to leave them alone. But if you know that a needed repair or renovation will disturb the material, you may want to start planning with your consultant to abate the asbestos during the project.

What do commercial property owners/managers have to do with a construction project containing asbestos?  There are regulations in place that require owners to know if there is ACM in the building before commencing construction/demolition work. An asbestos survey must be performed and proof of such survey is required in order to obtain the necessary permits. This work is completed by an Asbestos Consultant, such as ERC. If any asbestos is to be removed, a consultant must provide instructions for safe removal (Asbestos Specifications or Design). Additionally, a consultant provides oversight of the removal with onsite monitoring throughout the project.

Is asbestos hazardous?  It is the unique physical shape of asbestos that gave it many practical applications and also makes asbestos hazardous. Asbestos is harmful if the fibers become airborne and are inhaled. Fibrous asbestos can fracture into fibers small enough that they can penetrate deep into the lungs, where they can interact with the body to cause cancer or other illnesses. Asbestos Containing Materials (ACM) that are intact and in good condition are not hazardous to building occupants under normal conditions.

If asbestos is so dangerous, why was it even used?  Asbestos was so useful because it was incredibly strong and resisted many elements well. It is so strong because of its natural composition. These fibers are extremely durable and resistant to wear. These are the properties making asbestos so attractive for adding to all types of products:

  • Inert: That means they have little or no chemical reaction when blended with other materials. This quality makes ACM stable and seemingly safe to handle.
  • Non-Flammable: Asbestos materials withstand extreme heat and pressure without breaking down.
  • Non-Corrosive: Asbestos fibers don’t rust or corrode when placed in wet and moist conditions.
  • Low Thermal Transfer Rate: Asbestos insulation was considered the best material to control heat loss and gain.
  • Tensile Strength: Asbestos fibers were enormously strong.
  • Lightweight: Some standard products had their weight cut in half when blended with high ratios of asbestos fiber.
  • Flexible: Asbestos fibers bend, twist, and turn while maintaining their strength and without giving up other properties.
  • Durable: Asbestos fibers do not break down, even when exposed to corrosive ultraviolet rays and acids.
  • Readily Available: Asbestos is commonly found in deposits around the world.
  • Economical: Because asbestos is common and lightweight, its mining and shipping costs are low. The savings were passed down to the consumer, along with all the other great features asbestos appeared to offer.

When was it realized that asbestos was a health hazard?  In the early 1900s, Dr. Hubert Montague Murray at the Charing Cross Hospital in London reported on lung disease in an asbestos textile worker. An autopsy confirmed the presence of asbestos fibers in the worker’s lungs. It was not until 1924, however, that the first case of asbestosis was reported in a medical journal. Documents from the 1930s and 1940s reveal that many asbestos manufacturers were aware of the serious health issues surrounding asbestos, but kept the information secret from workers and from the public. During the 1960s, evidence emerged indicating that asbestos fibers posed a dangerous medical risk. The United States federal government began to regulate asbestos in the 1970s through the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

Wasn’t asbestos banned years ago?  Only a few asbestos products are banned in the United States. You can still easily buy many asbestos products from the local home improvement store.

DANGER Asbestos Removal SignWhat if I work in a building currently under construction and there are asbestos warning signs?  Do not enter the area. Wherever asbestos is being removed (abated) the contractor will put up a containment with warning signs, so any airborne asbestos fibers do not migrate into the occupied areas. This work is strictly regulated and monitored for the safety of the abatement workers, as well as the occupants. Air monitoring is done throughout the abatement to ensure exposure does not exceed a very finite limit set by the Federal Government.

What happens with the ACM that’s removed from buildings?  ACM is carefully contained and transported in a sealed container to a hazardous waste disposal site. Because of its features, asbestos never breaks down and remains in these sites forever, unless removed and transported to a different site. The whole process of removal, transportation, and disposal is very tightly regulated.


For more information about asbestos, visit these sites:

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

Occupational Safety & Health Agency (OSHA)

Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS)

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)