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New Health and Safety Challenges When Temporarily Closed Businesses and Institutions Reopen in Puerto Rico

Zimmetry Environmental provides building assessments and indoor environmental quality testing, monitoring and consulting services to identify and mitigate exposure risks in buildings that were closed due to COVID-19 lockdown orders.

Bayamon, Puerto Rico – WEBWIRE

Indoor environmental quality is a key component of successfully reopening a closed building.

In March, a state of emergency was declared in Puerto Rico that shuttered non-essential businesses and kept many people at homes as part of the campaign to battle the COVID-19 pandemic. This situation has created a challenge for building owners and operators as these businesses and institutions prepare reopen for business in the near future.
This is due to the fact that so many of the buildings were vacated on short notice without enough time for the proper decommissioning of the building systems. A large number also had minimal maintenance during the closure. Not only can there be damage to the buildings in some instances, there could also be indoor environmental quality (IEQ) issues that now pose an exposure risk for building occupants.
One of these risks is the potential presence of Legionella in building water systems. During the non-occupancy, with water systems not in use, the bacteria may have multiplied. This increases the risk of an outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease or Pontiac fever. Another concern involves the relative humidity in the buildings when they were unoccupied. Were the HVAC systems working properly while people were away and was it adjusted for the temporary environment of no people or activities taking place? Too much humidity and mold can quickly begin to grow. This also holds true for water damage from faulty plumbing or weather-related events that brought moisture into the structure during the closure.
Sewer gas is a very common problem in buildings that have been vacant. Normally water in p-traps and floor drains prevent sewer gas from entering a building. However, if a building remains empty long enough, this water evaporates and strong odors can fill the indoor space.
“There are a number of things that should be considered before building occupants return to a place that has been closed for weeks or more,” said Harry Pena, President of Zimmetry Environmental. “Indoor environmental quality is a key component of successfully reopening a closed building. So too are essential cleaning and disinfection procedures that need to take place during this historic time. At Zimmetry, our building science and industrial hygiene professionals offer site inspections and IEQ testing services to assess indoor surfaces and air quality for microbial and chemical contaminants. These services help to ensure a healthy and productive indoor environment as we all prepare to get back to business in Puerto Rico.” 
Zimmetry has also recently sponsored an educational video about reopening buildings after the coronavirus closures that can be seen at:
To learn more about building assessments, infection control, environmental pathogens, indoor air quality (IAQ) and other industrial hygiene services, please visit, call (787) 995.0005 or email .
About Zimmetry Environmental
Since 2002, Zimmetry Environmental has been providing environmental consulting services to building owners and managers, architects, engineers, EHS professionals and Fortune 500 companies. The company is based in Puerto Rico and provides services across the Caribbean and Central America. The professionals at Zimmetry offer environmental compliance, indoor air quality, asbestos, lead-based paint, Phase I ESAs and general environmental consulting services.

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 Puerto Rico
 Infection Control

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