Application of Disinfectant During Flood Disasters
posted on July 25, 2013 4:43 PM
Recommended Application of Disinfectant During Flood Disasters
In the initial stages of disaster relief, Restoration Professionals can easily assume the water is contaminated (Cat. II or higher). Contaminates can come from countless sources and sometimes not from the same structure. With the sheer volume of bacteria present in these conditions, it is advisable to begin the Restoration process with an application of Disinfectant. Simply spraying affected areas with a light coat will be sufficient. Several studies have shown the bacteria and mould begin to grow almost immediately as water comes in contact with materials in the structure and can reach hazardous levels within the first 24-48 hours. These numbers go up exponentially in disaster situations where there are so many sources of contamination. This initial spray will not only will help control bacteria and mould levels to minimize cross-contamination, but will also help the working environment and air quality. Controlling growth and monitoring air quality is vitally important in residential structures to prevent additional contamination and future complaints from the homeowner.
At any time during the restoration process, an additional application of Disinfectant may be necessary. This is especially true for sewage back-ups and heavily contaminated water. Conditions will vary but depending on temperature and humidity of the environment, however, sewage in standing water becomes a toxic concoction that is continually decaying and grows microorganisms. This is the ideal environment for bacteria, viruses and mould to grow and controlling it is essential. The odour on the job site is really the best indication of this condition. If it smells foul, it is a result of odour causing bacteria reaching extremely high levels. An application of Disinfectant on affected materials will help bring down the odour and more importantly control the contamination.
If standing water has been left for several days a bio-film can form on the surface of the water, which promotes mould and bacteria growth. A mist application of Disinfectant on the surface of the water will counteract this growth until extraction can begin.
Once any standing water is removed, proper cleaning can take place followed by a final application of disinfect. It is important to note that moisture is still present within the structure and therefore bacteria and mould levels will continue to climb so cleaning and disinfecting should be done immediately after all standing water has been removed.
Cross-contamination is also a factor especially in large disasters because the work must go on for longer periods of time, making it difficult to work within usual containment procedures. When the process is happening over multiple days the potential of cross-contamination from equipment and technicians increases. Simply wiping down or spraying disinfectant on tools and equipment regularly, will help eliminate this issue.
Close attention should be given to HVAC systems because mould spores become airborne and can easily grow in ductwork. HVAC Systems must be properly cleaned so the entire building does not become contaminated –adding to the scope and cost of the job.
The goal should always be to control microorganism growth during the Restoration process. This not only allows the job to progress more efficiently but also keeps the job contained within the affected area.
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