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Flood Cleanup Begins

john disqueBy John Disque

The Eastern side of America's Coast just couldn't get a break. After the record-breaking rainfall and damage of Hurricane Irene, they were then hit with the rainfall of Tropical Storm Lee.

Susquehanna River Basin (From Cooperstown NY to the Chesapeake Bay) has long been known as America's most flood-vulnerable waterway. In early September the river began to rapidly rise and evacuations began.

While the count is neither official nor complete, there have been 16 known deaths from Hurricane Lee. About one-half of the deaths occurred in the northeast and the other half were on the Gulf Coast. Injuries range from very minor to severe and property damage will take weeks; in some cases, months and years to determine.

Finally, it looks like the worst of the actual storm is over. All evacuation orders should be lifted sometime this evening. Floodwaters have receded and people are starting to make their way back to their homes and businesses but many are finding that their nightmare has just begun.

Clean up is not always easy or cheap and, in some cases, not possible at all. Many along the Susquehanna River were flooded up to their roofs so they're returning to find serious foundation damage, very dangerous situations and complete loss.

In other cases the damage doesn't always meet the eye. From the outside a structure can look perfectly sound and be crumbling from the inside. If not properly assessed and cleaned up, small holes and cracks in floorboards, walls and framing can trap water, quickly rot and rapidly spread, leaving the homeowner in a forever-continuing tragedy.

Your health is most important. While I hate to add any more bad news it has to be stated: People will often attempt to dry things out and, after a certain time, they'll think everything is okay. What they don't often see are the microorganisms on the inside of the object creating bacteria and mold. These organisms can cause serious, life-threatening conditions long after people think they have everything under control.

Depending on someone's level of damage, it is seriously recommended to throw out as much as you can part with. It is also advisable to get a professional to assess the bacteria level and researching the best ways for proper clean up.

While, in many cases, it's a financial situation - people should know that it's often better to temporarily live without. Over time you'll find that everything has been replaced. There isn't anything in your house more important than your health.

The following website will give you a very good outline for the cleanup process:

Published September 10, 2011

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