Curren Environmental Blog

How do I choose a Mold Remediation Company?

Posted by David C Sulock on Apr 26, 2016 9:00:00 AM

No one wakes up and says "I want to make a bad decision", but it sometimes it happens. Bad decisions are made when you have a topic that you have no prior experience with, for example, mold remediation. 

Below are issues that could or have occured with mold testing and mold remediation companies: 

  1. Do they have an office or do they work out of a house? Generally companies that work out of a home or have a PO Box number as opposed to a commercial address are smaller, less capable and  subcontract equipment and labor to complete a job.  These companies tend to close up shop after a few years.  We see it time and time again.
  2. Ifa company says "This is an emergency mold situation and has to be completed ASAP (including a weekend)", it is a false statment. Mold doesn’t grow overnight, it takes time, weeks, months and often years to develop to a point that the mold problem even becomes visual.  Rush scheduling often is meant to lock you into getting the job done.  Trust me you can wait a few days to assess all your options.
  3. Franchise companies have large overhead every month and this is reflected in their pricing. From interviewing past and former employees of these firms, we have established a pretty solid line of evidence that their training and expertise is lacking.   If a mold remediator can’t tell me how to remediate mold and they have been doing it for over a year, there is a problem with the company providing the service.
  4. Mold companies that also do building trade services such as sheetrock and remodeling. These firms have a vested interest in removing more building materials they can be paid to replace what is removed.  Fox guarding the henhouse.
  5. Any mold company that says THIS IS THE WORST I HAVE EVER SEEN, is most definitely wrong. How could your problem be that bad? Could your air tests be so highly concentrated with mold spores that it is the worst ever or even one of the worst?  Probably not, but if these companies get you thinking  it is, it would scare you to act.  We have seen many mildly impacted mold sites and some really bad ones.  When studying about mold you get trained on sites where occupants moved out and houses had to be demolished, THOSE are the worst sites not yours.  If it sounds like someone is trying to scare you, they probably are.
  6. The worst mold companies are the ones that test for mold and provide no narrative regarding how they tested, where and what the results mean. They give you test results, saying the laboratory said that the levels are “X” amount and that means they are high.    Unless the lab came to your property, they have no idea.  The lab only knows that the sample was marked for this address and the levels found are what they saw in the sample, nothing more.  The mold testing company needs to say they saw 2000 sq. ft. of mold or it was 2 sq. ft. and they sampled the worst area and YES they expected the results to be really high.  We see this all the time and we expect that these firms base their samples to get inflated results to scare you.
  7. Lastly, they tell you they are certified. There are NO State or Federal Mold regulations or certifications.  In truth, there is no Federal or State license for mold remediation.  Only New York State has a certification and licensing program and that only started on January 1, 2016.  Every other state has no program, so if a company is pitching their license they are pitching you know what.

Mold Questions? Click HerePicMonkey_Collage.jpg




Tags: mold

What Can You Do On Earth Day?

Posted by Tiffany Byrne on Apr 21, 2016 9:00:00 AM


Earth day became a National day from Earth Day founder Gaylord Nelson, a U.S. Senator from Wisconsin.  Founded in 1970, Senator Nelson was inspired after witnessing the 1969 massive oil spill in Santa Barbara, California.  Following the anti-war movement, Senator Nelson thought that he could bring this to colleges across America with campus teach-ins. Working with Pete McCloskey, a Republican Congressman as co-chair they recruited Harvard student Denis Hayes.  Denis Hayes was very interested in what Senator Nelson had in mind for the environment that he directly went to interview Senator Nelson and from the interview, Denis Hayes became the national coordinator building a staff of 85 to promote events, selecting April 22nd as the Earth Day date because it fell between spring break and final exams. 

On April 22nd, 1970 over 20 million Americans were lead to streets, parks and large gatherings to demonstrate the need to for a healthy and sustainable environment. Earth Day received such support from both the Republicans and the Democrats that by the end of the first year (1970) the government created the Environmental Protection Agency, Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act and the Endangered Species Acts.  By 1990 Earth day became global with more than 200 million people in over 141 countries involved with environmental issues taking the world stage.  Recycling efforts became more global leading to the 1992 United Nations Earth Summit.  Senator Nelson received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1995 for his contribution of Earth Day.

Now, Earth day is celebrated by more than a billion people ever year.  What can you do on Earth Day, April 22nd, 2016?

Events in New Jersey, Central PA,  Philadelphia, and check out the EPA for events around the country.

Is there an Environmental Issue with your Inherited Property?

Posted by David C Sulock on Apr 13, 2016 1:29:00 PM

It always sounds good an, inherited property.  You can reap the benefits by keeping the property as your home or selling the property to cash out.  What doesn’t sound good is if this inherited property has an underground oil tank and to top that, the oil tank leaked.  When you inherit a property, you may be inheriting years of hassles, aggravation lawsuits and a financial abyss. How can you get around this? If you have already accepted the inheritance than you just inherited the problem and you should seek an environmental consultant and an environmental attorney.  The laws state that whoever owns the property owns the problem.

What should you do before inheriting the property?

You need to understand that you are not required to accept the inheritance.  You have a choice to either disclaim it or renounce it.  Even if you are bequeathed multiple separate items, such as cash and jewelry, you can accept and not the other.  With a property, you can’t take only a part of piece of property and reject the remainder.  It is very important that you assess the property for environmental issues and discuss with your attorney your options when dealing with an inherited property. It happened recently in Califormia, a large property was inherited and found contaminated, to read the full story click here. 

Hire an Attorney and Environmental Consultant.

When inheriting a property, residential or commercial, you should consult with an attorney.  The attorney should be in environmental law and explain that Due Diligence is necessary to assess the property prior to acquisition.  If there is any chance that your inherited property may be polluted, or there is an underground oil tank, you need to hire an environmental consultant.  If there is any chance that there was or may still be an oil tank on the property a tank scan should be performed.  A tank scan consists of taking measures to properly scan the property for an oil tank.  The property should be scanned with a Ground Penetrating Radar system.  This system uses a series of radar wave pulses that are directed below ground.  When a solid object is encountered such as a metal tank, the waves are reflected back to the surface with a distinct signature. GPR tends to be more reliable , than a metal detector, as metal detectors are not discriminating and will pick up naturally occurring metal in the ground, metal from buried pipes, metal in the house, fences ect.   The best approach is GPR with a metal detector verification.  If this property is a commercial property you should consider a Phase I, for more information on Phase I click here.

Did the property have an Underground Oil Tank?

Find out first if there was ever an oil tank located at the property. If the dwelling is older than 1940 or was built in 1940 to 1985, there is a possibility of an underground oil tank.  Older homes in regards to heat sources started out with wood or coal then moved to oil heating.  Also, 9 times out of 10 if there is an above ground oil tank there probably was an underground oil tank.  You may check with the borough to find out if a permit was provided to take the underground oil tank out of the ground.  But, that permit does not answer the question if the oil tank leaked.  The only answer the permit allows is that there was an underground oil tank and that tank was taken out of the ground.  The borough does not test the soil for any leak from the tank, not do they require it.  Tank removal is a construction activity, tank leaking is environmental and is handled on a state level, not on a local level.


If you do find out that there was an underground oil tank and that said tank was taken from the ground, that environmental company may have taken soil samples to make sure there was no leak.  That environmental company would hopefully, have given the property owner a report on the soil samples and if the tank leaked or did not leak.

If you have no records of any soil samples or soil testing that it is advised to get soil samples done. First you would check the soil for any contamination. In the New Jersey there are regulations of how much contamination can be in located in the soil.  If there is contamination, there may be a need to test the groundwater as well. 

Based on testing and findings, and advisement from your attorney, it is your choice to accept the inherited property, but remember, there is always a price when dealing with any type of environmental remediation.

Tags: Inherited Property

Did you know that Mold comes in many different colors?

Posted by Tiffany Byrne on Apr 13, 2016 10:18:00 AM

Did you know that Mold comes in many different colors?

 At Curren, some of the most common questions are regarding the color of mold. For example:

 "Is this mold bad because the mold is black or grey?"

 "What type of mold is black mold?"

 “Is black mold toxic?"

The most popular used term for describing mold is “Black Mold”. Technically, there is no mold that is named black mold, many sources attribute the term black mold to the media. In reality there are many different types and colors of mold. Some types of Mold can be harmful (regardless if the mold is black) and can cause health issues.

Molds come in many different colors and can mean many different things. As you can see below, mold may be black, grey, orange, green, brown and even white. Many molds may not be harmful. Black mold may be completely innocuous (not harmful or producing no injury) or it could be problematic. Mold can be difficult to determine on your own. The mold you think you see might just be mildew or dirt. Remember, mold is usually not a problem unless mold spores land on something wet  indoors. Mold evaluation and interpretation is best left to the experts. At Curren, we have over 20 years’ experience testing mold, air testing and mold remediation.


Black Mold                    Green Mold

Mold_in_Basement3-424194-edited         Green_mold

White & Black Mold        Brown Mold

IMG_5501-877705-edited        Brown_mold-968330-edited

Grey Mold                     


Please don't hesitate to call us for your mold testing, mold remediation and mold questions at 888-301-1050.


Why Perform a Phase I Environmental Assessment Review?

Posted by David C Sulock on Apr 8, 2016 11:00:00 AM

Who Requires A Phase I Environmental Site Assessment (ESA)?

Phase_I.jpg Phase_1.1.jpg

Who Requires A Phase I Environmental Site Assessment (ESA)?

Traditionally, a Phase I Environmental Site Assessment (ESA) was contracted by the bank or lending institution on properties where financing was being arranged.  The Phase I was primarily performed for the protection of the banks, who were concerned that if they loaned money for a contaminated property they may be held liable for the site cleanup.   This belief was incorrect as banks have liability protection on loans.   Today, many banks with loans under a million dollars and borrowers supplying a down payment do not require a Phase I.  This has been an industry shift over the past several years as banks have come to understand where their limit of liability stands.    The real liability is financially for the bank, as they are concerned that the cost of environmental work can hinder the borrower from paying the mortgage and defaulting.  Leaving the bank to own the asset.   Banks want to loan money and receive mortgage payments not foreclose on bad loans.

What is included in a Phase I?

The Phase I is a property assessment that includes a walkover of the property and associated structures; a review of historic property information including maps, aerial photographs, deeds, telephone or address directories, etc.; a review of contaminated properties in the vicinity of the subject property; a summary of knowledgeable party information and review of prior reports; and the review of local, State and Federal files pertaining to the property address.

Items evaluated in the Phase I report include tanks, drains, pits, spills, in-ground and aboveground equipment, petroleum and chemical use, and environmental liens.

The Phase I report is typically research only.  Unless otherwise specified as part of the scope of work, testing or surveys are outside of the typical Phase I requirements. For more information on Phase I click here. 

Why complete a Phase I if my bank does not require one?

Although many banks are not requiring a Phase I on some commercial loans (under a million or low risk), the environmental regulations leave the burden of environmental responsibility on the property owner.  Performing a Phase I, allows a purchaser to complete the necessary due diligence.  This due diligence enables a purchaser to obtain prior to taking possession of a property.  Buyer beware is relevant now more than ever in commercial real estate transactions.  If a property is purchased without a due diligence and future evaluation and subsequent environmental issues are found in association with the property, the property owner is now burdened with the cost of remediating the issue. The performance of a pre-purchase Phase I could alleviate the potential for finding environmental issues in the future and thereby holding up future transactions.  As a potential purchaser, the determination of environmental issues on a property could be used as leverage for the seller to remediate the concern prior to purchase or could be used to negotiate the property value pending the need for the potential purchaser to perform the cleanup.

Phase I, II, III Questions? Click Here

If I do not do a Phase I and buy a property how would I ever find out if there was an environmental problem with the site?

The most common way is when you go to sell and the potential buyer completes a Phase I and discovers an environmental Area of Concern (AOC).   Today the largest purchaser of Phase I’s is not the banks, but commercial real estate investors and owners (*transactions under $1,000,000.00).

I own a property, never had a Phase I and I am now thinking of selling the property.  Do property owners have Phase I’s performed?

One of the largest shifts in the commercial real estate market today is that many landowners are having a Phase I performed to root out environmental issues before they become an issue when a buyer is found.   An owner performed Phase I is viewed as both a marketing tool and an environmental property assessment that can help sellers anticipate issues with a property.  It can be akin to a homeowner having a home inspection completed to address issues that a purchaser might find during their inspection. 

If an environmental issue is found in a Phase I report on a property I am buying, can I still purchase the property?

If the issue is fully disclosed to the lender (if one is involved) and the buyer is willing to accept the liability and cost of addressing the issue, then yes you can buy the property.  However, the real question is should I address the issue before buying the property?

The investigation of potential issues found in the Phase I is typically addressed as part of a Phase II Environmental Site Assessment.

Tags: Phase I

What type of Light Bulb do I buy? Incandescent, CFL or LED?

Posted by David C Sulock on Mar 29, 2016 10:46:00 AM

What is Incandescent?


The incandescent light bulb or lamp is a source of electric light that works by incandescence, which is the emission of light caused by heating the filament. They are made in an extremely wide range of sizes, wattages, and voltages. On January 1st, 2014, by a law passed by Congress in 2007, these bulbs can no longer be manufactured in the U.S. because they don’t meet federal energy efficiency standards. Many other countries have adopted the same type of law as well due the fact that other types (CFL, LED) are much more energy efficient.

What is CFL?


Compact fluorescent lamps (CFL) are smaller versions of standard fluorescent lamps. They consume much less energy but provide light that is comparable to incandescent lights. Also, they can generally directly replace standard incandescent bulbs. Per the EPA, Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs will help you save money by using less energy, reducing the amount of light bulb changes and most importantly lowering the greenhouse gas emissions which inevitably will lead to climate change.  More information can be found one the EPA website. To find out more about costs, visit Home Depot.

What is LED?


LED (Light emitting diodes) is a semiconductor devise that emits light when and electronic current is passed through it. A study found that over their lifetime LEDs cost $95 to operate compared to CFLs that cost $159 and incandescent bulbs that cost $652. LED bulbs are available in options that either emits a warm, soft glow or a cool, bright glow depending on your preference. Some types perform well outdoors even in cold temperatures. Dimmable options are also available. LEDs (light emitting diodes) use 75-80% less energy than incandescent light bulbs and last 50,000 hours helping you save energy and money. For more information on cost, check out Lowe’s for LED light bulbs.

Which light bulb should you use?  Until LED bulbs drop in price, most people will not realize savings if installed on all fixtures.  Generally speaking, lights that will remain on for an extended period of time (kitchen, family, hallway and dining areas) will benefit the most as they consume electricity for longer periods of time.  Closets, bathrooms, laundry rooms are areas where light is not constantly on and thus do not warrant energy efficient lighting.  As light bulb prices drop, as they have in recent years, it may be more economical to replace all lights with energy efficient lighting.  Your best bet is to choose an ENERGY STAR Certified Light Bulb.  These use 70% to 90% less energy than traditional incandescent light bulbs and can last 10 to even 25 times longer.  This can save you $30 to $80 over the lifetime of the light bulb.  How many times do you change your light bulbs – you do the math.


How Can You Conserve Water?

Posted by Tiffany Byrne on Mar 23, 2016 3:00:00 PM

Are you taking a 20 minute shower? Do you leave the water running while washing dishes?

There are many theories and thoughts about our water supply.  Are we going to have enough in the future?  Is our water supply depleting?  We have stories from NASA, CBS News, and the National Geographic, these stories are telling us that we need learn how to conserve water.  Water conservation is using water efficiently and avoiding waste. Everyday use of water such as dishwasher use, laundry use and long hot showers significantly reduce clean water and add to more strain on septic and sewage systems which then lead to contamination of groundwater.  Conserving water is a national topic and the information that can be found on the web is abundant. 

Earth is made of 70 percent of water but only 1 percent of that is considered fresh, clean water available for use.

Tips for conserving water: 

  1. When washing dishes by hand, don't let the water run while rinsing. Fill one sink with wash water and the other with rinse water.
  2. Adjust sprinklers so only your lawn is watered and not the house, sidewalk, or street.
  3. Run your dishwasher only when it is full and you could save 400 gallons a month.
  4. Use the garbage disposal sparingly. Compost instead and save gallons every time.
  5. Plant during the spring or fall when the watering requirements are lower.
  6. Use a layer of organic mulch around plants to reduce evaporation and save hundreds of gallons of water a year.
  7. Turn off the water while you brush your teeth and save 3 gallons a minute. That's more than 1000 gallons a year.
  8. Direct downspouts and other runoff towards shrubs and trees, or collect and use for your
  9. Time your shower to keep it under 5 minutes. You'll save up to 1000 gallons a month.
  10. Consider installing new appliances. They are more water and energy-efficient than older appliances. A new washing machine can save up to 20 gallon per load.
  11. Install low-volume toilets.
  12. Put food coloring in your toilet tank. If it seeps into the toilet bowl, you have a leak. It's easy to fix, and you can save more than 7000 gallons a year.
  13. Soak your pots and pans instead of letting the water run while you scrape them clean.
  14. Do one thing each day that will save water. Every drop counts!
  15. Start a compost pile. Using compost when you plant adds water-holding organic matter to the soil.
  16. Aerate your lawn. Punch holes in your lawn about six inches apart so water will reach the roots rather than run off the surface.
  17. Turn off the water while you shave and you can save more than 100 gallons a week.
  18. Do not use water to defrost your food, put it in your refrigerator to defrost.
  19. Store drinking water in the refrigerator rather than letting the tap water run cold
  20. Install Rain Barrels

What are Rain Barrels?

A Rain Barrel (rainwater tank) is a water tank used to collect and store rain water runoff, typically from rooftops via rain gutters.

Why install a Rain Barrel?

Drought and aquifer mining are increasing in terms of use. Many people are looking for a ways to minimize the impact of their municipal water supplies. Installing a rain barrel is way to help conserve water.  You will have your own water source in case of a drought.  You can water your garden from your rain barrel reserves.  Having your own rain barrel helps reduce runoff pollution by collecting water before it hits the fertilizer, and increase algae growth in lakes. Rainwater, unlike tap water, doesn’t have the salt and chemicals.


Photo courtesy of Emma Howell, Shawnee High School.

Some interesting facts about Rain Barrels: 1-inch of rain on a 1,000 square foot roof yields 623 gallons of water. Calculate the yield of your roof by multiplying the square footage of your roof by 623 and divide by 1,000. Depending on your roof area, a rain barrel can fill up when there has been as little as 1/10th-inch of rain. To collect twice this volume from the same downspout, connect the overflow hose from the first rain barrel to a second rain barrel.

Conserving water helps the community, the environment and may even help lower your electric bills.  Conserving water may also help keep moisture away from your house, keeping possible mold from growing in your home.

Check your local County website for different ways you can help and conserve your own water.  Many counties offer free classes on conserving water and how to build your own rain barrels. 

Tips to get your lawn green.

Posted by David C Sulock on Mar 15, 2016 10:00:00 AM

Green Lawn Tips


Remember what your lawn looked like last year?  Good or bad lets get it green.  Here are a few tips to get started.

Americans spend over $6.4 Billion a year on lawn care, according to the Professional Lawn Care Association of America. Why not get started in the spring to ensure a beautiful green and healthy lawn.

Start out by checking the soil pH levels.  Winter can alter the soil pH and create conditions that are friendly to weeds and disease.  The soils pH should read between 6.5 and 7.0 which are slightly acidic. You can test your soils pH by purchasing a pH tester.  After the soil has been checked, invest in a rental aerator.  In high traffic areas grass becomes compacted.  The aerator will draw wine cork-sized plugs out of the lawn surface giving roots the room to spread and allow for air, nutrients and moisture to penetrate the soil.

Pro Tip 1

The soil cores should not be raked always, as they contain bacteria and nutrients that will return to the soil.

In the early spring, apply a pre-emergent weed control to prevent crabgrass.

 Pro Tip 2

½ the dosage of preemergent and reapply in 3 weeks to increase the treatment duration.  Try to get your immediate neighbors to do the same so you encompass a larger spread of weed control.  If your neighbor does not apply preemergent, weeds can grow and move to your yard.

During late spring fix any patchy places and apply your seed.  When seeding in the spring it is pertinent that you provide consistent watering to allow the seed to germinate

Pro Tip 3

Water twice a day for 7 to 10 days to allow the seed to germinate.

When watering, make sure one inch of water to 12 inches of soil is preferred ratio for watering actively growing grass.  You most likely will have to seed again in the fall months.

With the spring upon us, it is very important to prepare your lawn for the warmer, sunnier months ahead.  Having a nice, thick green lawn helps with excess rain, capturing the moisture so it does not end up in your house and produce mold. 

IDo you think you have mold in your home or dwelling?  Curren can answer your questions call now at 888-301-1050 or email at



When is the first dayof Spring?

Posted by Tiffany Byrne on Mar 8, 2016 9:00:00 AM

Why does the 1st day of Spring Start on March 19th?

What is the first day of spring?  Well, naturally it means the flowers are supposed to bloom, the day is longer, the weather gets warmer and the rain never stops.  Astronomically speaking, it is when the equinox occurs when the Sun crosses the celestial equator on its way north along the ecliptic.   


In the years 2008 and 2012, those living in Alaska, Hawaii and the Pacific, Mountain and Central Time Zones on March 19. And in 2016, it if you are in California it will start on March 19, for the Eastern states it will be on March 20th at 12:30 AM.

There are a few reasons why seasonal dates can vary from year to year.

A year is not an even number of days and neither are the seasons. To try and achieve a value as close as possible to the exact length of the year, our Gregorian Calendar was constructed to give a close approximation to the tropical year which is the actual length of time it takes for the Earth to complete one orbit around the Sun. It eliminates leap days in century years not evenly divisible by 400, such 1700, 1800, and 2100, and millennium years that are divisible by 4,000, such as 8000 and 12000.

Another reason is that the Earth's elliptical orbit is changing its orientation relative to the Sun (it skews), which causes the Earth's axis to constantly point in a different direction, called precession. Since the seasons are defined as beginning at strict 90-degree intervals, these positional changes affect the time Earth reaches each 90-degree location in its orbit around the Sun.

The pull of gravity from the other planets also affects the location of the Earth in its orbit.

So Spring doesn’t start on March 21st not even March 20th for the western and mid-western states. Find your date and mark your calendars for the first day of spring! Get the garden tools out, check the lawn mower and prepare your cleaning supplies a day earlier.  Also, check your downspouts and make sure there is proper drainage that slopes the ground away from the foundation of your house or dwelling to ensure no water or moisture gets in to prevent against indoor mold.

For more information about Curren Environmental click here


What should an area look like after Mold Remediation?

Posted by david sulock on Feb 23, 2016 9:30:00 AM

If Mold Remediation was performed properly there are a few things you should be able to see, even with an untrained eye. 

  1. On a basic and an expected disclosure basis, the owner should be able to explain what the mold problem was, including the extent and cause.
  2. The area remediated should look clean or cleaner than it was before the remediation. While clean is tough to quantify, you would not expect a crawl space or a basement to have a sense of clean like a living room, generally it should be devoid of debris and heavy/dust/dirt.
  3. No mold should be visible. This is important, as the site of mold may have been the trigger for remediation.  Remember remediation = removal.
  4. The space should be dry. Simply put, moisture caused the mold growth, just remediating the mold without addressing the cause does not solve your problem. There  should be a working dehumidifier in basements and crawl spaces. Building repairs that allowed the initial water entry should be completed, such as leaking basement windows, or roof leaks.  On the outside -  roof leaders should be extended away from the house.   There should be a slope away from the foundation to carry water away (positive drainage). 
  5. Ceilings, wood framing, roof sheeting, any remaining organic surfaces within the space, should have been treated with a mold resistant coating.  The coating seals the wood to prevent moisture from getting a toehold, which is exactly how the mold was able to grow  in the first place.  The coating should also have a long acting fungicide to prevent future growth.  The better coatings have a 10 year warranty and are white in color so you know the area has been treated visually.  The clear coat products have lost favor, as it is difficult to ensure that application was even and thorough throughout the space.
  6. If the owner performed the remediation, an invoice should be obtained to ensure that the mold remediation was performed professionally and not DIY. 
  7. A warranty (typically on the mold resistant coating) should be obtainable and transferable to the new owner.  Warranties that are provided by the company PERFORMING the work are nearly worthless since these companies come and go with little in financial backing.  The companies that manufacture and sell the coating to mold remediators to utilize are multimillion dollar firms with the deep pockets to backup and support any future warranty claims.Click to edit your new post...

Mold Questions? Click Here

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Tags: mold