When a Commerce City homeowner recently experienced a sewage backup in the basement they called PuroClean Disaster Response and we responded immediately. Without ever walking into the home, we know certain things when facing a sewage backup; that any materials affected by the backup will be a complete loss. We walked into this job knowing only that it was a sewage backup in the basement. If they have carpeting it would have to be removed and replaced, if walls were contaminated that drywall would have to be cut out and replaced. A sewage backup is a biohazard. Industry standards set by the IICRC and others dictate that contaminated porous materials be removed and replaced. We do not leave any contaminated materials behind during a sewage clean up process.
In this house in Commerce City, the floor drain line in the basement had back up and forced sewage to flood the entire basement of the home. We got to work right away with our initial containment and sanitization steps. A sewage backup differs from a clean water damage situation because sewage is a biohazard, it needs to be handled differently and by qualified people. In these cases we always establish containment and do a thorough pre-clean to ensure that the contamination is limited to the affected space and not allowed to spread into other areas of the house. We sanitized the area with antibacterial compounds and set up a dehumidifier to begin drying the basement. In this Commerce City home the entire basement was affected; every room in the basement was in need of clean up.
Due to the age of the home, we had to test for asbestos before we could begin demolition of the contaminated materials. According to Colorado state law regarding asbestos any home built prior to October 1988 has to be tested for asbestos containing materials before any demolition can begin. If the test proves positive for asbestos the demolition of those materials would have to be performed by a licensed asbestos contractor. Puroclean technicians are all trained in asbestos rules and we have a network of people who can perform the test and complete the mitigation. So even if it turns out to be positive for asbestos we can still manage the entire job for the homeowner.
Since testing was necessary we cleaned and sanitized all surface area and prepared the space for the asbestos test. The asbestos test showed the walls were free of any asbestos but the floor tile did contain asbestos so we arranged for an asbestos abatement contractor to go in and deal with all asbestos in the affected areas. Asbestos abatement is something only a certified asbestos abatement contractor should do in your home. They are licensed by the state only after they have passed state testing and taken EPA certified courses on how to properly remove asbestos from a home. It can take as long as 2-4 weeks to get the necessary permits and to complete the abatement process. During that time we cannot continue to work on the areas being treated for asbestos. In this case, as it was the flooring, all of the broken and loose tiles were dealt with but the regulations allow undisturbed asbestos containing materials to bereft undisturbed. In this case the homeowner and their insurance company chose to leave the undisturbed portion the floor in place to be covered over with new flooring.
Once the asbestos abatement work was complete, we could get back into the home and finish sanitizing and drying the home. Anything that touched the floor and therefore was contaminated by the sewage that flooded the basement had to be torn out or removed and discarded. To clean thoroughly we have to remove all “built ins” so that we can be certain to sanitize any location that may have been exposed to the sewage backup. Those cabinets and other “built ins” are discarded and replaced due to their contamination. Drywall was not much of an issue in this home as the basement walls were covered with manufactured paneling. Since this paneling is a compressed wood product and it had been contaminated it had to be removed and replaced as well. After the demolition was complete we power washed the entire basement, very thoroughly applied anti-microbial solution throughout the areas affected and then completely dried out the basement so there was no chance of mold.
Sewage, or biohazard materials in your home are a big and disgusting problem. Make sure you call in the experts to properly treat your home so no contamination can occur to the rest of your home.