Extended record breaking cold temperatures during February, 2015 resulted in an epidemic of water supply lines freezing and bursting in homes and commercial buildings across the region. For much of February and into March, Property Recovery 911 crews worked long hours on emergency water mitigation jobs in Philadelphia and the surrounding suburbs. We acquired additional equipment and added staff in order to keep pace with the onslaught of flood restoration projects that we were awarded during this period.
PVC Supply Lines & Water Mitigation
Located just outside of Coatesville in Valley Township, PA; our team encountered a severely flooded basement resulting from a freeze ruptured PVC water supply line that was installed along the top of the basement foundation wall. PVC is by nature a brittle substance that is prone to freeze damage and by locating this water line along the top of the cold foundation wall rather than within the finished basements stud walls, the plumber who precariously installed PVC water supply lines and the builder who signed off on this haphazard piping route doomed this structure to an eventual flooded basement requiring emergency water mitigation and flood restoration.
Flooded Basement Extraction & Deconstruction
Upon arrival, we discovered approximately 5 inches of standing water throughout the flooded basement that consisted of a beautifully finished section and an unfinished area serving as a laundry room, storage area, gym and utility room. Soaking a lifetime of stored belongings, saturating wall to wall carpeting in the finished portion, wicking up drywall and infusing insulation between the wall studs; emergency water mitigation was essential to stave off the onset of mold growth that can take hold in as little as 48 hours.
Our initial flood restoration challenge was to extract the standing water from the flooded basement, which we accomplished using our Dri-Eaz HVE 3000 portable flood pumper and inline truck-mount booster. Once extracted, we removed the water damaged contents that were beyond flood restoration and staged them in the driveway for hauling and dumping. We then used a technique known as blocking and tabbing to elevate the salvageable belongings for in-place drying.
Next, deconstruction of the structures veneering in the water damaged areas was required to gain access the building materials beneath for thorough structural drying. Water damaged baseboard and door casings were removed, soaked carpet and padding were cut out, wet sheet rock ‘flood cut’ and the insulation within discarded. The materials were added to the debris along the driveway to be hauled away and dumped.
Sanitization & Structural Drying
Following extraction, removal of destroyed belongings, blocking & tabbing of items to be dried in place and deconstruction of veneering; disinfection and structural drying of the flood damaged building materials is a necessary step to ensuring healthy living environment. We first liberally applied Benefect Botanical Disinfectant, which is formulated with thyme oil as the active ingredient. Plants produce germ-killing ‘essential oils’, much like we produce antibodies, to protect themselves from invading microbes. Benefect is a blend of these antimicrobial plant extracts, particularly from the herb Thyme, which achieves remarkable efficacy without the use of synthetic chemicals. Benefect is proven to kill over 99.99% of bacteria & surpasses the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s efficacy requirements for broad spectrum hospital disinfectants.
Once disinfected, we strategically deployed structural drying equipment to remove moisture from the saturated building materials in an effort to achieve a dry standard that would not permit microbial activity. Over the period of 3 days, our specialized machinery remained in place and we made daily visits to monitor the effectiveness of our drying efforts. Multiple internal readings of moisture content within the building materials were taken daily throughout the 3 day drying process over which period we were able achieve moisture content within 3 points of our dry standard and deem this flood restoration project a success as per IICRC guidelines set forth in the S500, which is the universally accepted Standard and Reference Guide for Professional Water Damage Restoration.