Hoboken, NJ experienced flash flooding on Sunday, May 31st 2015, which filled a number of streets with several inches of water, and caused raw sewage to overflow and debris to blanket the area. Forecasters are calling for heavy rains and flash floods through Tuesday night, and more damage is expected. Northwestern Hoboken is known to be flood-prone, and storm water often causes the sewage system to overflow, and flood back into the city’s streets – and unfortunately stores, homes, and apartments. These buildings are then exposed to bacteria, and if the water is not properly cleaned up quickly, mold can begin to grow in 24-48 hours.
When flood waters take over streets and neighborhoods, they pick up whatever is on the ground. In addition to raw sewage, it can include toxic cocktails of diesel fuel, debris, chemicals, storm water, and various other pollutants pooled in basements.
The most important thing is to be educated about what the risks are, and what you can do to protect your health and prevent costly damage.
If you were exposed to contaminated flood waters, here are the steps you need to take:
– Get the water out and dry the area as quickly and thoroughly as possible. Use dehumidifiers and fans. If wallboard is affected, take pictures of the damage and call your insurance company and alert them to the situation immediately;
– If items in your home or business are wet, they need to be dried and cleaned within 24-hours, or thrown out. Some items should be discarded regardless, such as carpets, toys, makeup, and boxes, as they cannot be properly cleaned from bacteria, and will also likely grow mold.
– Even if your apartment was not affected, your building may have been. Have the property manager check the basement for leaks, flooding, and raw sewage. If there is standing water in the basement that is not promptly attended to, it will start to grow mold, and bacteria, like E-Coli and streptococcus, will multiply. A few days or weeks from now, your whole building may be at risk for serious health hazards and structural damage;
– If you have water or sewage in your apartment or building, get mold and bacteria sampling, quickly. The only way to know if your home or building has been contaminated with bacteria, has mold, or is at risk for a mold infestation is to have it tested by an independent environmental testing company, like RTK. Since RTK does not do remediation, our reports are unbiased, and will clearly tell you what next steps should be to help get your home back to normal.
If you have questions about your situation, contact us. We are happy to answer your questions. You can also visit us at www.rtkenvironmental.com.