Heavy rainfall and flash flooding can lead to water accumulation in basements.
According to a University of Illinois Extension educator, water in a small portion of a basement requires the same thorough cleaning and disinfecting as several inches across the entire basement.
"Receding floodwaters and infiltrated water may contain sewage and other contaminants, including pathogens that are harmful to people," says Stanley Solomon, U of I Extension educator, energy and environmental stewardship.
Of course, mold is the biggest long-term worry when discussing flood damage. "Mold can start growing on wet materials in 24 to 48 hours so it's important to get all materials dried as quickly as possible," Solomon notes.
Solomon recommends wearing rubber gloves, eye protection, and clothes that can be immediately laundered (or a protective suit) as a minimum. A proper fitting N-95, N-100 or HEPA-rated respirator/mask is recommended, especially if there is any indication of mold or if there have been overland floodwaters in the home from swollen streams and rivers.
Various water-soaked materials require different treatment plans:
Remove porous materials such as drywall, carpet, and carpet pad that are wet or have indications of mold growth.