The Wonderful World of Containment

The Wonderful World of Containment

The fundamental idea on containment is simple: keep one or more contaminants in or out of an area. Quite literally, a containment is an isolation system. Containment is designed to stop, slow, or control the exchange of one or more contaminants from one spatial environment to another. In the restoration world, we think of it as “specialized.” The truth is, it is so common, we use it, live in it, and work in it every day, no matter what you do for a living. Containment truly permits life on Earth; without containment, Earth would be a dead planet.

So, what is a contaminant? And what are the contaminant(s) that the containment is to control and to what level? Ask a contractor about containment and many think: OSHA = Engineering Control

A contaminant may be defined as: A polluting or poisonous substance that makes something impure (as in the Apple dictionary), undesired substances (as in the S500), or something that makes a place or a substance no longer suitable for use (as defined in the Merriam-Webster dictionary).

Each individual contaminant may have containment specifications and/or personal exposure limits required by OSHA or other authoritative bodies. Some examples:

  • Sound
  • Temperature
  • Light
  • Wind
  • Moisture
  • Particulate matter
  • Microbiological Growth
  • Pathogens
  • Chemicals
  • Radiation

The full list of contaminants and their desired control level must be determined in order to design and deploy a proper containment. Let’s start with an every day basic scenario. 

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