Mulch Ado About Flooding
If you had mulch that floated away in the last heavy rain event, you may be causing a flooded basement for someone in your neighborhood. Mulch that floats away during heavy rain events can plug inlets, which does not allow the drainage system to work properly and can cause flooded basements and even flooded living areas. Some of these homes had mulch inside them, brought in by the floodwaters. Be considerate of your neighbors and avoid replacing mulch or placing mulch in drainageways or areas that flood. In areas where water can float mulch away, use material that will not float instead such as fabric and decorative stone. Be a good neighbor and do not contribute to the flooding caused by plugged inlets.
Reduce Basement Backups — Keep Flood Water out of your Basement
Heavy rains every each spring and summer can cause stormwater drainage and basement backup issues, but did you know that getting flood water in basements in one location can result in others experiencing basement backups? These two are directly inter-related. How can that be? Flood waters in one basement drain down that floor drain into the sanitary sewer. This flood water quickly fills up the sanitary sewer causing it to back up into other homes, even homes that are blocks away. Sources of flood water into the sanitary sewer system include illegally connected sump pumps to laundry tubs or floor drains, failed sump pumps, and other sources of water running over the basement floor (cracks in walls, leaking window wells) entering the floor drain.
What can you do to keep flood waters out of your basement and reduce basement backups? Make that improvement that you have been thinking about the last two times it rained heavily, but procrastinated about. Don’t wait any longer. Do it this weekend! Here are some ideas to do in your yard outside:?
- Properly grade yard away from house;
- Mudjack or replace settled patios, driveways or sidewalks;
- Install clay fill to promote drainage away from the foundation;
- Replace the window well windows with glass block;
- Repair leaking and cracked basement walls and cracks in basement floors;
- Install downspout extenders away from the house/ neighbor’s house;
- Discharge downspouts overland;
- Remove mulch and firewood from drainageways as it plugs inlets and culvert pipes;
- Do not install structures or landscaping in stormwater drainage easements;
- Buy a larger sump pump and properly size fuses or circuit breakers for the pump;
- Discharge sump pump outside away from the house;
- Buy a spare sump pump with hose to discharge outside during an emergency;
- Install a battery backup or generator for sump pump in case of power failure.
These improvements will help not only your house, but your neighbor’s house as well since keeping flood waters out of your basement reduces the chance of basement backups elsewhere.
There are certain steps property owners can take to prevent basement backups if they have experienced them during these major rains. Talk to qualified
plumbers about these options:
● Install a floor drain backup valve (good only if you do not have a shower or toilet in the basement);
● Install a backwater valve on your sewer lateral;
● Consider installation of hung plumbing in the basement.
Flood Tips – Before, During & After The Storm
Floods cause more damage in the US than any other natural disaster. Particularly if you live in a flood-prone area, it is wise to protect yourself and your family from the consequences of a flood disaster – here are some helpful tips.
Before the Flood
If you are in a highly flood-prone area:
Have a NOAA weather radio, with tone alert, on hand, and during heavy rains, monitor it for flood warnings, watches or statements. Stay tuned to radio or television stations.
- Keep materials on hand like sandbags, plywood, plastic sheeting, a supply of plastic garbage bags, and lumber.
- Keep your automobile fueled.
- Keep a stock of food which requires little cooking and no refrigeration.
- Keep a portable radio, emergency cooking equipment, lights and flashlights in working order.
During the Flood
Know that in floods cars can become coffins. Avoid driving into water of unknown depth, especially in periods of low visibility. Moving water can quickly sweep your vehicle away. Standing water deep enough to cover wheels can cause cars to float---possibly into a canal, river, or pond.
If asked by local officials, quickly evacuate to avoid being cut off by flood water. Turn off all utilities at the main switch if time permits.
- If time permits, move furnishings to safe ground; fill tanks to keep them from floating away, tie down propane tanks, grease immovable machinery.
- If your caught in the house by the suddenly rising flood waters, move to the second floor and/or if necessary, to the roof. Take warm clothing as well as your flashlight with you. Don't try to swim to safety. Wait for help. Rescue teams will be looking for you.
After the Flood
Test drinking water for potability; wells should be pumped out and the water tested before drinking.
- Do not use fresh food that has come in contact with flood waters.
- Restrict children from playing in flooded areas. Hidden sharp objects and open storm drains are safety hazards. If kids do play in standing water, bathe them as soon as possible and watch for signs of infection or disease.
- Do not handle live electrical equipment in wet area; electrical equipment should be checked and dried before returning to service.
- Unclog storm drains, culverts, and ditches. Standing water breeds mosquitoes, which carry disease.
- Use flashlights, not lanterns or torches, to examine buildings; flammables may be inside.
- Report broken utility lines to appropriate authorities.
- Open windows and doors to let the air circulate. This will help remove foul odors and protect you from escaping gas. It will also help dry out the house. Take pictures of the damage.
- Begin cleanup as soon as possible. Throw out any perishable foods; they may be contaminated. Hose down hard goods such as major appliances and furniture.
- Make any temporary repairs necessary to stop further losses from the elements or from looting.
Preventing Mold Damage After a Flood: Tips for Homeowners
After flood damage occurs in your home, Mold, a common term for fungus, can attack organic materials such as paper, books, cloth, photographs, and leather. One of the first things you should do is take steps to prevent any further damages that might be caused by mold growth. Following are some tips.
What to Look For Active mold growth is slimy or fuzzy and is usually green, black, orange or purple. Inactive mold is dry and powdery and may be white. In early stages, the mold may look like a fine web; in full bloom it looks bushy. Mold spores spread easily; they are carried by air currents, pets and people.
How to Stop Mold from Spreading
- Work Fast. Under the right conditions, mold can spread and grow quickly.
- Lower the humidity and temperature. Remember that mold cannot grow in low relative humidity and low temperature. Open the windows if outside humidity is lower than inside; otherwise, use air conditioning. Install dehumidifiers and empty them often.
- Isolate any moldy objects. Seal moldy trash in plastic bags and remove them immediately. Objects you can save should be dried or frozen as soon as possible. Freezing inactivates mold.
- Keep the area clean. Mold may remain on shelves and in cupboards where valuables were kept. Clean these surfaces with a disinfectant such as Lysol, and then increase air circulation in the room. Use fans only after moldy objects are removed and all display and storage areas are clean.
- How Can I Save Moldy Possessions?
- Air dry them away from other objects. Spread out papers, stand books on end and fan the pages open. Use blotting materials like clean towels or absorbent paper between layers of cloth or paper. Increase air circulation with a fan, but don't aim the fan directly at the objects.
- If you can't dry the objects quickly or you have a large quantity, you can freeze books, documents and small textiles until conditions are right to dry them. Do not freeze moldy photographs.
- Although ultraviolet light can be damaging, brief exposure to sunlight can stop mold growth and aid drying. Exposure should not exceed 30 minutes.
- Clean the mold only after it is dry and inactive. Very gently wipe or brush away the mold residue. Work outdoors if possible and always wear protective clothing and a respirator.
- Avoid harsh cleaning products and bleach; they can ruin objects. Never vacuum fragile items. Use a household vacuum cleaner outdoors, since the exhaust will spread mold spores.
- Be sure display and storage areas are free of mold before you return any clean object to its proper place. Reinspect the objects from time to time for any new mold growth.
- Valuable artifacts and photographs should be handled by a professional conservator.
Source: U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency