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Flooded Properties

If your property has had extensive flooding, the most important concern is for health and safety of the occupants. Two key areas should be your focus to prevent any health issues arising.

1. Sanitisation of the affected areas; and
2. Treatment of mould growth.

These key areas are an important aspect of the clean up process and more importantly, for the health and safety of the occupants.

The following information provided is to be used as a guide only. We highly recommend these works be carried out by a professional restoration company with specialist training in water contamination and mould remediation.

A- Black Water contamination Cleaning Procedures

Category 3 Water is referred to as “Black Water.” Black water contains pathogenic agents and includes sewage and other contaminated water sources which enter the property. Category 3 includes all forms of flooding from seawater, ground surface water and rising water from rivers or streams. Such water sources carry silt and organic matter into structures and create severe contamination and unsanitary condition.

1. Initial decontamination
Initially and before handling, decontaminate sewage and organic materials by spraying with, or immersing within, a biocide solution. The aim of this treatment is not to provide a complete disinfection, but to reduce microorganisms as quickly as possible. Application of the biocide solution is to be done in the correct manner to avoid health risks associated with exposure to the solution. This process should be carried out by a professional.
This treatment will not provide full disinfection, nor is it intended to do so. The objective of the initial decontamination is to commence the reduction and mitigation of microorganisms as quickly as possible. It is important to recognize that exposure to materials treated during initial decontamination poses a health risk and may result in an adverse reaction. This process must be carried out using the correct personal protective equipment and carried out in conjunction with a risk assessment and work method statement.

2. Excessive water and contaminant removal
Excess water and organic matter, especially raw sewage and silt, must be physically removed.

3. Flush/Cleaning
Residual organic matter in cracks and crevices of salvable materials normally can be removed by flushing with a cleaner/disinfectant solution. Recover the flushing solution with an extraction unit immediately after application to prevent further migration or absorption of contaminates into other porous materials. In some situations, using pressurized washing to adequately flush contaminates out of cracks, crevices and from under structural components.

4. Detailed Inspection
Following the removal of organic matter, and initial decontamination procedures, a detailed inspection must be conducted that considers the extent of water migration, types of affected materials and the degree of the damage. Professional testing equipment and the principles of psychometry must be used to formulate a plan to dry and restore, or replace, both the building materials and contents materials.

5. Building Materials
Evaluate building materials such as panelling, plaster and wood for physical damage and degree of contamination to determine the need for removal and disposal. Demolition of materials maybe required to expose pockets of contamination for cleaning and drying.

6. Floor Coverings and Sub-floor
Affected timber laminated floating floor, vinyl floor, carpet or other floor coverings are to be removed and disposed of appropriately. Subflooring is to be evaluated and if salvageable, must be cleaned, disinfected, dried and sealed. The process to carry out sanitisation, drying and sealing should be determined by a specialist restorer.

7. Detailed Cleaning & Secondary Biocide Application
After removing heavy organic soils and contaminates, thoroughly clean the remaining materials or components before a second application of a biocide. Cleaning helps reduce the amount of organisms present so that subsequent biocide applications are not rendered ineffective by organic soils. Lack of meticulous cleaning may render biocide applications ineffective. Thorough cleaning is required before implementation of additional procedures.

8. Structural Drying
Procedures should be implemented to increase the rate of drying. It is recommended that moisture and humidity be reduced as much as possible by introducing air movers and dehumidification to increase the rate of drying.
It is recommended that a closed or mechanical dehumidification drying system be used for the restoration of properties. An open drying system (Leaving the windows open with the use of air movers to create evaporation) can only be used when the specific humidity of the outside air is less than the specific humidity of the inside air.
It is recommended that the building materials are dried to the buildings dry standard before any re-construction works can be carried out to prevent any future mould growth.

B- Mould Remediation

The extent of the mould contamination is to be assessed by a mould remediation specialist to determine the appropriate steps which should be carried out to ensure correct decontamination. The three conditions of mould contamination and the appropriate remediation steps are listed below.

Condition 3 (Visual Mould Growth)
Condition 3 occurs when an indoor environment contaminated with the presence of visual mould growth and associated spores.

Condition 2 (Settled Spores)
Condition 2 occurs when an indoor environment which is primarily contaminated with settled spores. These settled spores were dispersed directly or indirectly from a condition 3 area and has traces of actual mould growth.

Condition 1 (Normal Fungal Ecology)
Condition 1 occurs when an indoor environment that may have settled spores, fungal fragments or traces of actual growth with the contamination identity, location and quantity are reflective of a normal fungal ecology for similar indoor environment.

Recommended Mould Remediation and Decontamination Process

1. Air filtration Devices
It is highly recommended that prior to the cleaning and remediation of a Condition 3 mould contamination that an Air Filtration Device is used and is located in an area where remediation activities are being conducted. It is highly recommended that the air filtration device is fitted with HEPA filters.

2. Removal of Contaminated Structural Materials
It is highly recommended that porous building materials with mould growth penetrating the surface (classified as Condition 3) be removed and discarded appropriately. Mould growth on framing members can usually be removed by using HEPA vacuuming or damp wiping followed by sanding and wire brushing. It is important to recognize that exposure to materials contaminated with mould poses a significant health risk and may result in an adverse reaction. This process must be carried out using the correct personal protective equipment in conjunction with a risk assessment and work method statement.

3. Detailed Structural Cleaning
To achieve Condition 1 status in the work area after demolition has been completed, it is important to thoroughly remove all visual mould, dust and debris from all surfaces, internal wall frame etc. It is highly recommended that periodic HEPA vacuuming or wet wiping of all surfaces in the remediation areas be performed to remove settled dust and spores. It is also important to recognize that exposure to materials contaminated with mould poses a significant health risk and may result in an adverse reaction. This process must be carried out using the correct personal protective equipment in conjunction with a risk assessment and work method statement.
One of the goals of mould remediation is to leave surfaces clean and dry. Source removal of contaminated porous materials is the preferred method for mould remediation. (Condition 3 Environment)
The use of ozone or ultraviolet (UV) light as a substitute for the removal of mould is generally not recommended

4. Drying
Once the detailed cleaning has been completed, drying off the building structure (as required) is to occur by using mechanical drying methods, such as introducing air movers, heat drying and dehumidification to the premises.
It is recommended that the building materials are dried to the buildings dry standard before any re-construction works can be carried out to prevent any future mould growth.
On the completion of the drying we highly recommend micro misting of the property with Goldmorr GM2000 for the reduction of invisible mould spores.

5. Testing
It is highly recommended that testing be carried out for E-coli, bacteria and mould to ensure the property has been brought back to normal ecology.

Conclusion – Recommended Cleaning Procedures

1. Initial decontamination – treat all surfaces with an anti-microbial for the reduction of microorganisms.
2. Removal all excess water and organic matter from the property
3. Install air filtration device (air scrubber fitted with HEPA filters) and locate closely to the area being remediated.
4. After evaluation, porous building materials, i.e. plaster board walls, panelling, floating floors, vinyl, etc remove as necessary and dispose..
5. HEPA vacuum all surfaces of the wall frame or any surface that is deemed to be a Condition 3 contamination.
6. Cleaning of all affected surfaces is to be carried out via scrubbing, agitation, brushing, sanding of the affected surfaces for the removal of contaminates.
7. Pressure cleaning of the bottom plate, crevices and cracks may also be required for the final removal of contaminates.
8. On completion of the cleaning a further application of anti-fungal/anti-microbial solution to be applied to reduce or suppress the growth of bacterial and mould.
9. Once the cleaning has been meticulously completed, drying of the buildings structure (as required) is to occur by using mechanical drying methods, such as introducing air movers, heat drying and dehumidification to the premises.
10. It is recommended that the building materials are dried to the buildings dry standard before any re-construction works can be carried out to prevent any future mould growth.
11. Micro misting of the property with Goldmorr GM2000 for the reduction of invisible mould spores
12. It is highly recommend that testing be carried out for E-coli, bacteria and mould to ensure the property has been brought back to normal ecology.

Juvenaire is the licence applicator of Goldmorr products which substantially reduce invisible spores to a level which is consistent with the outdoor environment or normal ecology.

References:
IICRC (International Inspection Cleaning & Restoration Certification) S500 & S520 Standards and guidelines.
Australian Mould Guideline AMG-2005-1
Goldmorr.

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