By Roxanne Turnbloom
Many homeowners assume that after water damage structures and belongings in their home just a thorough cleaning and disinfection will permit all items to return to their previous use. Although a restoration company strives to restore as much of your home’s structure, fixtures and contents as possible they must always keep the long-term safety of the customers in mind. If your home disaster includes contamination with black water, prepare for the possibility that some of your belongings and permanently placed decor and comfort items may need to be carefully removed and disposed of as hazardous waste. A trained and certified biohazard restoration staff will evaluate the damage done to the structure and contents of your house. They will devise a plan that will leave your home free of pathogens and dangerous materials like asbestos and with fungal growth remediated so that further overgrowth is unlikely.
Non-porous surfaces like glass, metal and plastic and some sealed woods often can be cleaned and disinfected safely during a biohazard abatement. Experts will use EPA approved cleaners and disinfectants properly during the process, which may include very specialized methods a homeowner would not have the training to perform. They will set up containment areas while cleaning and disinfecting so as not to spread the contamination into unaffected areas of the home. Negative air pressure and heavy grade plastic sheathing will be used if necessary. The biohazard specialists may work through the house this way, opening up areas after they have been cleaned and disinfected, using the contaminated areas as a staging place until all has been completed.
When the technicians are confronted with porous items that have been contaminated with black water, microbial growth, or dangerous chemicals or minerals the restoration company may need to make the decision in consultation with you and your insurance company to remove all or a part of the items affected. Padding and carpeting will need to be removed and disposed of per the local codes. Furniture that is upholstered, bedding and wall coverings may also need to be discarded. If the water passed through ceilings and walls to saturate insulation and drywall, the wet areas would have to be cut and thrown out. Even structural items and furniture made of wood may need to be removed if the microbial growth has attacked the integrity of the wood’s structure. This drastic solution is required to keep the inhabitants of the home safe because there are some materials it is impossible to disinfect and the biohazard risk is so severe.
When you are faced with the challenges of a home saturated with contaminated water turn to a biohazard restoration company for answers. Contact them immediately after you discover the water damage, and they will devise a plan that gets your home back to pre-loss condition fast.