Water damage describes various possible losses caused by water intruding where it will enable attack of a material or system by destructive processes such as rotting of wood, growth, rusting of steel, de-laminating of materials such as plywood, and many others.
The damage may be imperceptibly slow and minor such as water spots that could eventually mar a surface, or it may be instantaneous and catastrophic such as flooding. However fast it occurs, water damage is a major contributor to loss of property.
An insurance policy may or may not cover the costs associated with water damage and the process of water damage restoration. While a common cause of residential water damage is often the failure of a sump pump, many homeowner’s insurance policies do not cover the associated costs without an addendum which adds to the monthly premium of the policy. Often the verbiage of this addendum is similar to “Sewer and Drain Coverage”.
In the United States, those individuals who are affected by wide-scale flooding may have the ability to apply for government and FEMA grants through the Individual Assistance program. On a larger level, businesses, cities, and communities can apply to the FEMA Public Assistance program for funds to assist after a large flood. For example, the city of Fond du Lac Wisconsin received a $1.2 million FEMA grant after flooding in June 2008. The program allows the city to purchase the water damaged properties, demolish the structures, and turn the properties into public green space.
WARNING: There are significant health risks as well as a high chance of injury associated with the water damage restoration process. There are also additional health risks, including severe illness and death, associated with improperly drying the structure, as there is the potential for toxic mold to be left behind as well as structural instability.
Jon-Don strongly recommends hiring a trained and certified professional to perform all water damage restoration work.
The following information is intended for use as general guidelines for Category 3 water loss cleanup. No two water losses are alike, and each situation must be treated based on the unique needs of the environment. Before tackling any water loss it is recommended that professionals attend an IICRC WRT Class, an IICRC ASD Class, and be familiar with the industry’s standards of care (IICRC S500 and S520).
Category 3 water loss involves water that is grossly contaminated and can contain pathogenic, toxigenic, or other harmful agents. Such water may carry silt, organic matter, pesticides, heavy metals, regulated materials, or toxic organic substances.
Examples include, but are not limited to: sewage, toilet backflows that originate from beyond the toilet trap regardless of visible content or color, all forms of flooding from seawater, ground surface water and rising water from rivers or streams, and other contaminated water entering or affecting the indoor environment such as wind-driven rain from hurricanes, tropical storms, or other weather-related events.
- Complete work contracts. No work should be started without completed authorizations.
- Identify any safety hazards (electrical wires in standing water, loose/buckling drywall, etc.).
- Locate the source of the water and stop any further intrusion. It may be required to contact a professional plumber or other contractors.
- Protect furniture by blocking. Small items can be moved out of the affected area.
- Extract water from carpet and/or pad using a sub-surface extraction tool. Remove water from hard surfaces via squeegee or mop. All dehumidifiers should be turned on to give the coils time to reach dew point temperature.
- Apply a biocide to all affected surfaces to help prevent and retard the growth of microbial.
- Remove and dispose of carpet and carpet pad from all affected areas. Remove and discard all contaminated porous and semi-porous structural materials.
- Inspect all areas that water may have traveled. Document all moisture levels in affected areas.
- Create a drying chamber. Remember, you only want to dry the areas that are wet.
- Install air movers (approx. every 10-15 linear feet). All air movers should be blowing in the same direction.
- Monitor jobs daily. Record all drying data and keep accurate records.
- Dispose of any non-dryable items. Ensure you document and have the approval of the homeowner/insurance company before you do.
- Reinstall carpet with a new pad after drying is complete.
- Replace all structure materials that were removed.
- After drying is complete, all affected areas will need to be cleaned.