Recent Water Damage Posts
Salt water flood damage
Salt water flood damage
Numerous Southern Florida properties are close to the sea and other characteristic seawater sources, saltwater flooding and the subsequent harm can be a typical event. So also, to flood harm from ground water and other classification 3 misfortunes, sea water can cause serious property water harm and can make one of a kind rebuilding concerns and difficulties for neighborhood homes and entrepreneurs.
Nonstop increments in storm force and tidal flooding is making flood and weather disturbance water harm an ordinary worry for some South Florida neighborhoods. Flooding can have devastatingly affects your beach front structure or home, it tends to be hard to foresee the full degree of water and weather disturbance related harms. Furthermore, saltwater can be very risky and damaging to building materials and has included security worries for cleanup and rebuilding suppliers. Extricating the water is only the initial step that SERVPRO experts take to altogether dry and reestablish water and weather disturbance harmed territories inside and outside of your property. Floodwater is risky, it's encouraged to contact a solid property harm reclamation organization, for example, SERVPRO that spends significant time in catastrophic events and flood cleanup and remediation.
It tends to be hard for the normal land owners or supervisory groups to decide whether the defiled zones and substance of your property have been appropriately remediated, to evade proceeded with harm from salt erosion and form development. Our reclamation professionals are IICRC prepared and guaranteed with incalculable long periods of experience reacting to nearby beach front property harm cleanups and fixes. Beginning the rebuilding procedure starts with a visit from an exceptionally prepared technician to evaluate the full degree of your flooding or water harm interruption and present a thorough arrangement for a total property harm reclamation and development arrangement. While evaluating your property harm our chiefs will help figure out what parts of your misfortune our group can clean, disinfect and reestablish. Sadly, a few things are dangerous for reclamation and some controlled destruction and substitution are perhaps essential. Our rebuilding groups work intimately with our development teams and the executives to give a consistent change from demolition to recreation. All through the procedure our way of thinking is to reestablish over supplanting materials and substance at whatever point conceivable, assisting with bringing down by and large expense and time required for property catastrophe recuperation.
Seaside Properties experience a lot higher hazard for property harm from salt-water, sand and other sea shore and waterfront related concerns.
Beach front WEATHER AND SEAWATER CORROSION
Access to lovely sea shores and oceanfront perspectives can be one of the numerous focal points to living, working or owning beach front property in South Florida. In any case, taking into account how the earth, and encompassing scene, could unfavorably influence your business or private property could rapidly transform your fantasy property into a potential bad dream. Waterfront properties are increasingly presented to driving precipitation and winds off the sea during a serious weather systems, battering your properties outside and making a requirement for visit upkeep. Harm brought about by flotsam and jetsam and salt is unavoidable, blowing winds and salty ocean air are probably going to cause some corrective and basic harm including; rusting metalwork, chipping and scratching to outside surfaces, and conceivable harm to mechanical components, for example, window hooks. South Florida is not exempt to awful climate including typhoon power winds, storm and tidal floods, high waves and rising water levels can mean increasingly waterfront flooding prompting an expanded hazard for both indoor and outside, flood and water property harm.
Why Salt Water Flooding Does More Damage
Salt Breaks Down Building Materials
Likewise, to every single other sort of water interruption and flood harm, salt water flooding can rapidly infiltrate an assortment of building materials making critical harm basic segments and property substance. Not at all like some other water sources, salt water is progressively risky and causes increasingly extreme property harm since it is profoundly destructive. The mix of water and more elevated levels of salt can debilitate or even break up numerous sorts of building materials; including solid concrete, wood, mortar and drywall. Denitrification is when saltwater infiltrates wood shaping fluffy salt precious stones superficially and gradually pulls out lignin making harm to the wood on a cell level. On the off chance that a structure is overtaken and over presented to saltwater flooding or appropriate disinfecting (utilizing new water to kill the overabundance salt) doesn't happen, the more drawn out the salt-water stays in contact with influenced materials, this procedure will keep on debilitating the inner structure creating genuine auxiliary issues that could prompt breakdown.
Salt Water Damage Can Quickly Lead to Mold
Like any flood harm, if the dampness isn't appropriately alleviated it can prompt shape development in less than 24 hours. Did you realize salt-water quickens the improvement of shape following a flood catastrophe? Mold needs dampness to develop, yet flooding can infiltrate concealed corners of a structure that can be difficult to dry. SERVPRO experts utilize trend setting innovation including dampness identification hardware and warm imaging cameras to help recognize shrouded dampness worries during the auxiliary drying and purifying procedure. Air movers, radiators, and dehumidifiers are deliberately situated to accelerate the drying procedure. Moving dampness out of harmed materials into the air, to be caught through vanishing and assimilation and expelled for all time. EPA-enlisted disinfectants applied all through the influenced regions decrease the potential for contagious development and execute waiting microscopic organisms or infections.
SERVPRO of Hollywood/Hallandale/Aventura Responds to emergency Flood or Storm Water Property Damage Immediately
It's essential to make quick decision to contact a neighborhood SERVPRO proficient in your general vicinity, following a flood or storm water interruption. Be guaranteed that our supervisors and technicians make each essential moves to relieve your water harm from turning into a much greater catastrophe. Seawater can cause essentially more harm because of the extra salt substance included. Our SERVPRO of Hollywood/Hallandale/Aventura group will begin the flood and water harm recuperation process with an assessment. Our Water Damage Restoration Technicians (WRTs) are prepared to decipher what sort of water they will be working with in the vicinity and modify their strategies as need be. While removing water is a essential piece of each water harm job, saltwater interruption may likewise require extra strides to kill the salt response from further harming building materials and surfaces.
OUR STORM and FLOOD WATER MITIGATION SERVICES INCLUDE
Reestablishing your home or business rapidly after a tempest harm or salt-water polluted water misfortune, takes particular hardware and exceptionally gifted IICRC guaranteed experts
- Temporary Shoring, block and rooftop tarping
- Water Extraction
- Neutralizing of influenced territories, including purifying and controlled destruction
- Drying of influenced territories, including dividers, floor coverings and furniture
- Cleaning and Restoring of influenced assets
- Remediating mold and buildup
- Reconstruction and Repairs
Is Seawater from Storm Flooding Contaminated?
Without a doubt! The water from seas, lakes, waterways or streams is viewed as Category 3 Water.
Classification 3 Water: is known as "dark water" and is horribly unsanitary. This water contains unsanitary contaminants, destructive microbes and growths, causing extreme distress or infection. This class incorporates water sources from sewage, seawater, rising water from waterways or streams, ground surface water or standing water.
We are prepared to Respond with Disaster Flood and Storm Property Damage Restoration Services to South Florida neighborhoods and businesses in a prompt and professional manner,
Salt-water property harm from flooding or tempests is a significant worry for some land owners and directors on the East Coast and all through the Southeast consistently. Regardless of whether your property encounters an unexpected tidal flood, storm surge flood, ground water flooding or establishment drainage after an extreme weather system. Our SERVPRO staff is accessible to help with your property rebuilding concerns. At the point when SERVPRO's bright green vehicles show up and are supplied with a full cluster of cutting edge water harm rebuilding gear and IICRC confirmed specialists who can react rapidly to your destruction and rapidly start off making progress toward reclamation and recuperation, "Like it never even happened."
3 Ways To Find a Shower Leak
Shower leak in a Hollywood, FL home
Steps To Find a Shower Leak
Bathroom leaks can be difficult to diagnose because you could have a bathtub leak, or the water could be coming from your toilet, sink, or pipes. These three steps can help you find a shower leak.
1. Check Underneath
Depending on whether your shower is situated over a crawlspace, slab, or a living area, there are different signs you can look for to detect a shower pan leak. For a shower over a crawlspace, look for white, crusty stalactites, hanging from damp wood in the crawlspace.
If your shower is on a slab, check for signs of damage in the surrounding area. Loose floor tiles, wet carpet, or water damage to nearby walls and floorboards can be a sign of a leak.
If your shower is on an upper floor, look for wet ceiling tiles in the room below the bathroom. However, be aware that wet tiles could indicate a leak from anywhere in the bathroom.
2. Look for Mold
If you are regularly cleaning the bathroom and making sure to wipe down your shower and sink after use, but still finding mold, that can be a sign of a water leak. If the mold is growing on the caulk or grout around the base of the tub or between shower tiles, that can indicate that the shower is the source of the leak.
3. Check the Base
Cover the drain of your shower with duct tape and then fill the base with water from another source. If a leak appears, then your base is probably leaking. If not, remove the tape. If it leaks, then the drain is probably the culprit. If not, then the source of the leak is probably something else, such as the pipes, shower head, or shower tiles.
Diagnosing a bathtub leak can be a tricky problem, but these tips can help you find the source. If you need assistance cleaning up after a leak, a water cleanup professional in Hollywood, FL, can assist you.
Uncovering What's Wrong With Your Facilities Irrigation System
An irrigation system is necessary for a commercial property’s beauty and curb appeal
Uncovering What's Wrong With Your Facilities Irrigation System
The irrigation system of your commercial property looks like a simple system of connected pipes, which it is. Still, there are several components that contribute to the effectiveness of that system. As most water damage experts in Hollywood Lakes, FL, will attest, uncovering the cause of a problem in your sprinkler system is trial and error. However, there are a few common problems that help diagnose an issue right away.
- Electrical problem
- Lawn sinkage
Widespread irrigation problems, like entire sections failing, are often the result of an electrical problem. The primary power hub for your system includes timers, valves, solenoids, and many wires, and if any of these components fail, it can lead to a widespread outage or failure.
Dips or sinkage in your property’s lawn is another sign of an irrigation system problem. If you notice one area not presenting with standard water pressure or spray and a small or sizable sunken area, you may have a broken pipe. Most sprinkler systems use plastic tubing to connect the sprinkler heads to the water supply, which is not the sturdiest material. Too much foot traffic can lead to breaks in the lines, which lead to underground flooding and soil displacement, causing the lawn to sink.
A flood somewhere on your property can imply a broken sprinkler head. Another common problem, broken heads can occur during routine landscape or property use. Most sprinklers lift above the grass to water and retreat underneath once watering finishes. Some heads, however, do not sink low enough, leading to lawnmowers or people damaging the heads, which then cause flooding when the system is engaged.
How to Clean up After a Water Heater Leak
For severe leaks, you should drain the leaking water heater
It's hard to imagine what you would do without properly functioning appliances. You rely on your refrigerator, microwave, oven and dishwasher to simplify your life. Your water heater is also critical to your daily comforts and convenience. Over time, however, your water heater will begin to wear out. A leaking water heater is often a sign that it's time for a new unit. This problem can also lead to flooding and significant damage in your Hallandale, FL, home. Thorough cleanup and repair job can save you from a lot of hassles and stress.
It may be easy to detect a failed water heater because you won't get as much hot water as you used to. However, you may not discover a leaky water heater for a while. After a few days or weeks, the leak could turn into a flood, threatening building materials, flooring, and personal belongings. Here's what you should do right away:
- Turn off the water to the tank.
- Turn off the power supply to the appliance.
- Find out where the leak is coming from.
Preventing More Damage
You should next pull up wet carpet and lay it out to dry. If there are other items in or near the water, move them out of the way immediately. This includes furniture, electronics, clothes, and documents. You may have to tear out drywall if the broken water heater affected those materials. Next, contact a flood cleanup company to assess and repair the damage.
Drain the Unit
For severe leaks, you should drain the leaking water heater. This will help save the unit and stop more water from coming out onto the floor. To do this, attach a garden hose to the drain valve and place a bucket underneath. Open the drain valve and pressure relief valve to release the water.
It's helpful to know the right process to address a leaking water heater. Prompt action can spare your home and help you get the heater working again.
The Advantages of an Emergency Ready Profile
If you want to be "Ready for whatever happens", an Emergency Ready Profile is the answer
The Advantages of an Emergency Ready Profile
A competitive advantage in your line of work can come in many forms. A great plan for dealing with an unexpected disaster is one way to strengthen your company in Royal Poinciana, FL. Disasters come in the form of fires, storms, flooding, cyber threats and more, and being prepared could save your company from going out of business after a disaster. An emergency profile allows a disaster remediation team quick access to your property and can significantly improve aid in the recovery process. The features of this program include the following highlights:
- A free assessment of your facility
- A Profile Document that contains critical information needed in an emergency
- A guide to minimize any business interruption caused by a disaster
- The establishment of a clear chain of command when it comes to authorizing work
- The identification of important facility details such as shut-offs and priority areas
Choose an Industry Leader
Your emergency profile should be set up by a recognized leader in the restoration business. SERVPRO has local disaster mitigation franchises throughout the U.S. and Canada, offering trained technicians and fast response times. They also have access to corporate resources that enable each franchise to deal with large events. Making the entire program more effective is the presence of a mobile ERP app that puts an emergency response in the hands of property managers and owners.
Protect Your Company From the Unexpected
Everyday companies experience major problems that are difficult to deal with and that result in a business interruption. About 50% of business may never recover from an emergency. The ones that do often fare better because of advanced planning. An emergency profile does not take long to set up and involves minimal costs, but it can be a big advantage for your company. If you want to be "Ready for whatever happens" and work with an industry leader in disaster response, an Emergency Ready Profile is the answer.
Understanding Contaminated Water Types
Clean water is the least problematic type, it could be from roof leaks
All water isn’t the same, and that becomes most apparent when you’re dealing with the aftermath of a flood. Floods are notorious for leaving bacteria-laden, contaminated water. Understanding the different types of water contamination can help you understand how to approach flood damage in your Hollywood Lakes, FL, home.
Different Contamination Sources
Water may all be comprised of the same chemical elements, but it doesn’t all come from the same place. Water can be contaminated by everything from agricultural pollution and factory waste to oil or human waste. Once contaminated, water can spread diseases like cholera, dysentery and more. The level of contamination determines which category water falls into:
- Clean water
- Gray water
- Black water
Clean water is the least problematic type. Typically sourced from roof leaks, tub overflows, appliance malfunction and similar sources, this water doesn’t have contact with human or animal feces. While this water can cause mold and mildew damage, it doesn’t pose a threat of disease.
The second type of water, gray water, is in the middle of the spectrum. Not quite clean, but not terribly dirty, this water is best described as mildly contaminated. Sourced from sump pump failures, toilets or dishwasher supply lines, this type of water contains a mild level of contaminants. If not properly removed, it runs the risk of progressing to black water.
This water is at the top of the list of contaminated water, and for good reason. This water is often contaminated with hepatitis, cryptosporidiosis and worse. It usually comes from toilets, and has made contact with human feces or sewage.
The type of water left in your home after a flood can directly influence your flood damage cleanup plan. Understand different contaminated water types and consult with a water damage specialist to form the best plan for how to remove each of them safely.
Basic Water Supply Line Know-How
PVC pipe for water piping system in Golden Beach, FL
Basic Water Supply Line Know-How
At the very least, a homeowner should know what type of equipment they are working with in their bathroom. How else would you know how or when to maintain it? If you suffer supply line damage in Golden Beach, FL, the specific type of line you have could determine your warranty and the procedure moving forward.
There are two types of plastic pipes: CPVC or PEX. CPVC is not looked upon favorable in the industry, and only has a 5-8 year warranty. It cracks easily in a freeze and uses glued fittings, making it susceptible to bathroom leak. On the other hand, PEX has a 25 year warranty. It is a relatively new material for pipes, so it isn't well known how water will effect it after 40 years. PEX offers several benefits, and is quickly gaining confidence in the plumbing world. It is:
- Relatively inexpensive
- Installs quickly
- Very flexible
Braided steel supply lines are the latest development in plumbing technology. They are known for lasting an incredibly long time and are extremely hardy, so they usually come with a lifetime warranty. Essentially, the line is a rubber tube enclosed by a braided steel jacket. This makes it very flexible, so these lines are also good for small spaces. Braided lines rarely suffer supply line damage.
Copper used to be the industry standard, but has recently fallen out of favor as the preferred pipe material. According to plumbers, it's usually good for about 40 years if it doesn't suffer any acute damage. The pipes are moderately flexible, and are usually shaped during installation and then secured to a surface with a coupling nut. However, copper is notoriously soft, and known to suffer a supply line leak easily. Copper is also easily effected by other metals and substances that come into contact with it.
Supply line damage is a common household issue, so know your pipes and keep track of your warranty in case it happens to you. You may even consider evaluating and upgrading your line before the worst happens.
How To Spot Water Damage
At SERVPRO, we are dedicated to unmatched customer service, high-quality work, and making it “Like it never even happened.”
Water damage may seem like something that would be obvious to detect. Things like buckled wood and discolored ceilings are dead giveaways, however, some of the most common signs of water damage are far more difficult to spot. Most of the time, water damage is actually located underneath your home’s floor boards, behind your home’s walls, or even somewhere on the outside of your house. Residential water damage and commercial water damage alike can be extremely costly for the property owner, especially when not identified early on. As such, it is extremely important to be aware of some of the most common water damage warnings.
A homeowner has a lot of things to think about and scanning the house for water damage is probably low on the to-do list. Nevertheless, being aware of some of the more typical indicators can save you and your family a ton of money in the long-run. Keep the following list in mind for how to spot water damage:
- Foul odors are often an indication of residual water and mold growth
- Stains present on ceilings and walls
- Mold growth
- Painting peeling
- Discoloration of the ceiling
- Bubbling or cracking wallpaper or paint
- Changes in floor texture such as buckling, warping, expanding, or sinking
- Leaking or pooling water behind appliances
- Issues in the attic and/or roof like mold or staining
- Exterior home damage near gutters
Being knowledgeable about the potential signs of water damage is the first step in mitigating the financial cost and overall damage caused. If you have spotted any of the above indicators throughout your home, it is imperative to contact a professional water damage team right away. At SERVPRO, we are dedicated to unmatched customer service, high-quality work, and making it “Like it never even happened.” Call us today to learn more!
Commercial Flood Insurance in Hallandale
Do you have flood insurance for your Hallandale properties?
The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) provides flood insurance. The NFIP doesn’t sell insurance. Buy flood insurance from an insurance agent.
SERVPRO of Hollywood/Hallandale/Aventura is interested in helping the businesses in our community become more educated on flood insurance. According to FEMA, 40% of small businesses do not reopen after experiencing a devastating flood.
Things to know in Hallandale. Check to see if you might be required to have flood insurance.
- All agencies in Hallandale charge the same for flood insurance
- Standard commercial insurance doesn’t pay for flood damage
- The NFIP sets the rates
- Rates depend on:
- whether you live in a flood plain
- flood risk in your area
- building’s age
- building’s construction
- Building property insurance covers the building
- Personal property insurance covers the building’s contents
- NFIP suggests you need both types
- Policies go into effect 30 days after purchase
- The NFIP help center number is 1-800-427-4661
SERVPRO of Hollywood/Hallandale/Aventura recommends the following:
- Check whether or not your area participates in the NFIP
- Check whether or not your area is part of the Community Rating System. The NFIP might have a discount
- Talk to your insurance agent when you need to make changes
Make sure your business is protected from the devastation that comes with unwanted flooding in your office.
Use Caution When Flood Waters Rise In Royal Poinciana
Don't underestimate the power of flood water.
Standing Water in Royal Poinciana:
A flood doesn’t end once the storm stops. We still have to deal with all that standing water. The flood water can take up to 11 days to disappear. It’s not time to go fishing.
If you have to evacuate your office, do not go back until you have been told it is safe.
Be careful driving in Royal Poinciana. Remember to “Go around. Don’t Drown!” The water may still be too deep for safe travel.
Floods are not natural swimming pools
- Sewage, debris, and other unpleasant things can be in the storm water leftovers
- Swimming, wading, or rafting can make you sick
- Don’t drink the water
- Water conducts electricity. Underground power lines can give you a dangerous shock
Flood waters vs. Animals in Royal Poinciana
- Snakes and other animals may get into your building. Wear work boots and heavy gloves when you clean up
- Some animals might find your office a cozy place to live
- If tap water is unsafe to drink, it is unsafe for your pets
Standing Water Can Be a Source of Diseases in Aventura
Beware of thinking flood water is safe.
Staying Healthy Around Standing Water in Aventura
Any standing water in Aventura can be a powerful source of diseases. Even a small puddle can pose a risk. Floods are worse because there is so much more water.
Sewage, dead animals, and rotted plants can be in flood water. If the flood water is indoors, there might be rotted food.
Viruses and bacteria can cause diarrhea or vomiting. There are many different illnesses that can do that, and they are all exceedingly unpleasant. To reduce your chances of catching something, SERVPRO of Hollywood/Hallandale/Aventura says:
- Wash your hands after contact with the flood waters
- Wash dirty clothes and towels in hot water. Use bleach if possible
- Use bleach or another disinfectant on hard surfaces
- Remember that you can shake hands with an infected person and get infected. That means you need to wash your hands before you eat
- Do not allow children to play in the flood water
- Wash children’s hands before meals
- Disinfect toys before letting children play with them
Cuts and rashes can become infected. Protect yourself and others in Aventura:
- Avoid flood waters if you have an open rash or a cut
- Clean cuts or rashes. Cover them with a waterproof bandage
- Clean cuts with soap and clean water
- If a cut becomes red, swollen, or is oozing, get medical attention
Possible Causes for Water Damage in Your Golden Beach Home
Don't Let A Water Leak Catch You Off Guard in Hollywood Florida
Causes & Categories of Water Damage in Hollywood Lakes:
An old poem has the line, “water, water, everywhere”. When you need to say this in your house, you know there is trouble. You may be looking at water damage. There are several different possible causes of water damage in Royal Poinciana.
Causes can include:
- Leaky dishwashers or washing machines
- Clogged pipes
- Leaking roofs
- Broken toilet pipes
- Heavy rain
- Water heater leaks
The amount of water damage depends on the amount of water and on the cause of the damage.
It is also important to start cleanup as soon as possible. The longer your home or business is water-logged, the more damage.
Categories of Water Damage in Aventura:
- Clean water. It might come from an overflowing sink or a broken appliance. The water does not pose a threat to people. Keep in mind that any water will become contaminated after it stops flowing.
- Gray water. This water is contaminated from the get-go. It comes from broken toilets or sump pumps. It might not look dirty, or it might be brown.
- Black water. Like gray water, it might not look dirty. One major source of black water is broken sewage pipes. Another source is any water that has been standing still.
Preparing for Unexpected Rain in South Florida
Water damage like flooding and leaks can be a major headache if not handled right away by a professional service.
February typically marks some of the most beautiful weather that South Florida sees all year round. And while we have been lucky to have pleasant days and cool nights, the last few weeks have also brought some unexpected rains. Rainy season in Florida typically runs from May through October, but any true Florida resident will attest to the fact that rains can come and go at any time. As a homeowner, it is important to be aware of quickly the weather can change from beautiful and sunny to dark and stormy.
Keep the following tips in mind to prepare your Florida home for unexpected rain over the next few months:
- Get your roof inspected to ensure there are no concerning areas
- Be sure that all windows and doors are secured and properly closed before leaving the house
- Remove any outdoor equipment that could be susceptible to rusting in rain
- Keep your gutters clear of any debris
- Inspect the interior of your home for any signs of leaks (focus on the walls and ceilings)
- Apply waterproof sealer to any areas of your outdoor patio that may need some extra protection
- Keep your garage door closed
- Check in with the weather channel here and there to be aware of any impending storms
Water damage like flooding and leaks can be a major headache if not handled right away by a professional service. At SERVPRO, we are dedicated to providing 24-hour emergency service for all types of water damage in your home. Contact our water restoration and damage repair technicians today to learn more!
Flood Safety Tips for Florida Residents
If your home has suffered any water damage due to flooding, be sure to contact the professionals at SERVPRO right away!
South Florida homeowners are no stranger to heavy rains and flooding areas. While the drainage systems throughout the Sunshine State have improved significantly over the years, there are still a sizable number of regions prone to flooding. From coastal storms to heavy rains and from overflows of canals and lakes to storm surges, it is important to be aware of the dangers linked to flooding and the critical safety measures to take in the event of a flood. While it may surprise some, floods are actually the most common type of natural disaster in the United States.
Flash floods can occur with little to no warning and some floods develop much more slowly. Regardless of the timing, reacting to a flood quickly and proactively is key. Keep in mind the following flood safety tips:
- Never attempt to drive, walk, or swim through flood water
- If an area is under flood warning, seek shelter immediately
- Avoid bridges that are over fast-moving water
- Gather all of your emergency supplies during a flood watch or flood warning
- Remain up-to-date on weather via the radio or local news station
- Take your outdoor furniture and other possession inside or securely tie them down
- If you are ordered to evacuate, turn off all utilities and close your gas valve
- When approaching a flooded area, turn around
The above may seem like simple or obvious tips, but far too many people ignore them and end up in trouble. It can be tempting to walk or drive through flood waters, but just six inches of moving water can knock down a person on foot and just a foot of moving water can sweep away a car. This rainy season, be sure to keep these flood safety tips in mind for your and your family’s safety. If your home has suffered any water damage due to flooding, be sure to contact the professionals at SERVPRO right away!
Immediate response is key
Water emergencies don’t wait for regular business hours and neither do we. SERVPRO of Hollywood/ Hallandale/ Aventura provides emergency cleaning and restoration services 24 hours a day, 7 days a week—including holidays.
In many cleaning and restoration situations, immediate action is needed. An immediate response helps to minimize the damage and the cleaning and restoration costs:
- Water quickly spreads throughout your property, saturating everything in its path.
- Water is absorbed into walls, floors, upholstery, and belongings.
- Furniture finishes may bleed, causing permanent staining on carpets.
- Photographs, books, and other paper goods start to swell and warp.
Hours 1 - 24:
- Drywall begins to swell and break down.
- Metal surfaces begin to tarnish.
- Furniture begins to swell and crack.
- Dyes and inks from cloth and paper goods spread and stain.
- A musty odor appears.
48 Hours to 1 Week:
- Mold and mildew may grow and spread.
- Doors, windows, and studs swell and warp.
- Metal begins to rust and corrode.
- Furniture warps and shows signs of mold.
- Paint begins to blister.
- Wood flooring swells and warps.
- Serious biohazard contamination is possible.
More Than 1 Week:
- Restoration time and cost increase dramatically; replacing contaminated materials and structural rebuilding may be extensive.
- Structural safety, mold growth, and bio-hazard contaminants pose serious risks to occupants.
The biggest mistake made by unit owners during water damages is to assume that if there is no visible water then there are no affected materials. Yet, water travels through porous materials in unbelievable ways. On the initial day of the water loss, walls may read dry. But the next day the walls can show that they are wet due to the water traveling its way down through the drywall. That is why it is important to let SERVPRO technicians perform proper inspections each day that they return to the unit to monitor the equipment already in place. A thorough inspection is done with the use of infrared cameras that detect humidity and moisture meters that penetrate the surface of materials that may possibly be affected.
Rain is necessary to help flowers and trees bloom, and that’s great! But sometimes all that water can cause damage to your home or business.
Yet there are ways to prepare.
- Take a look at rain gutters. Clogged gutters will cause rainwater to backup, damaging your roof and walls.
- Do a roof inspection. Are any shingles loose or damaged? Replace any that could be an issue to protect attic or work space from water damage.
- Check interior walls and ceilings for signs of water damage; this could be an indication of roof leaks.
- Trim any trees and bushes next to your business. Be sure to cut back branches that could break off, damaging property.
- Ensure that all doors and windows are secure, and that weatherstripping is in good condition.
- Make sure the city drains near your business are clear of debris and earth. Call the Public Works Department if you think there may be an issue.
Preparedness in the event of any kind of extreme weather is always a good idea, to protect your business and property from loss and damage. Taking the time to assess your situation and thinking ahead about what may come is a good way to keep your investment secure.
Until help arrives...
Water damages occur spontaneously which is why they quickly cause structural damages. Yet there are numerous ways to minimize the damages until SERVPRO arrives on site:
- Shut off the main water line from your home or business if the cause of loss is a burst pipe.
- In case of a large flood, disconnect any appliances that are affected to prevent electrical issues.
- Begin removing standing water. The longer the water sits, the more damage it will cause.
- Place aluminum or wood blocks between furniture and carpet flooring to prevent staining.
Once SERVPRO crews are on site, the damages will be assessed, any standing water will be extracted, the necessary materials will be removed and equipment will be set to facilitate the drying process. Our crews will leave the job site as "if it never even happened."
Appliances Most Likely to Leak
If you believe you may have a leaking appliance in your home or commercial property, contact our team of highly trained water damage specialists now.
Leaky appliances are one of the most common causes in water damage for both homes and commercial spaces. Unfortunately, many people do not recognize that a leak is occurring before the damage has been done. What often starts as a small, unnoticeable leaks turns into a major problem with serious damage. Things like mold growth, wood rot, and damage to carpets, flooring, and drywall typically follow water damage. On top of that, structural damage might be caused which can be extremely costly for a homeowner or commercial property owner. As such, being aware of the appliances most likely to leak is essential to preventing damage from happening in the first place. When attentive to appliances that are vulnerable to leaks, you are putting yourself in a position to recognize an issue immediately and thus minimize the water damage.
Household appliances each pose a unique threat when it comes to possible leaking and water damage. Far too often a homeowner fails to identify when an appliance is not functioning at full capacity. In this case, the problem is only clear when there is a puddle on the floor in the laundry room or in the kitchen. It is important to be aware of the appliances most likely to leak, they are as follows:
- Washing Machine
- Water Heater
- Kitchen Sink Drain Line
- Heating and Cooling Equipment
Most Florida homes have all of the above appliances. The most common causes of leaks are things like broken seals, damaged pipe joints, clogged lines, loose water connectors, corrosion, high water pressure, quick changes in temperature, and tree roots interfering with water lines. If you believe you may have a leaking appliance in your home or commercial property, it is important to contact our team of highly trained water damage specialists right away. Call us today if you have any type of flood damage or water damage and our SERVPRO experts will respond immediately.
Most Common Causes of Water Damage in Your Home
At SERVPRO, our water damage specialists have the experience, expertise, and equipment to restore your property quickly and efficiently.
Water damage in a residential property is often caused by things like water leaking or flooding that goes unnoticed for a long period of time. Damage of all kinds can wreak havoc on your property when excess water starts to pool in an area of the home. Unfortunately, most homeowners are unaware of the signs and warnings of water damage and therefore leave the issue unresolved, eventually causing further damage. Water damage restoration is the process of removing the water, drying and dehumidifying, clean and sanitizing, and then restoring the area to its original state. From minor repairs to carpet replacements, identifying water damage early is the key to minimizing potential damage to your home.
The ability to recognize signs of water damage is the first step in keeping your property in top condition. As such, it is important to understand the most common causes of water damage in your home. They are as follows:
- Leaking pipes, bursting pipes, or broken hoses
- Malfunctioning air conditioners or other HVAC issues
- Broken dishwashers, washing machines, or other household appliances
- Sewer backup, clogged drains, or general plumbing problems
- Water buildup in areas like attics or crawl spaces
- Natural disasters like hurricanes or rainstorms that cause flooding
- Running toilets
- Bathtub overflows
- Malfunctioning fire sprinkler system
No matter what the water damage cause may be, addressing the problem immediately is imperative to reducing damage and restoring the area back to optimal condition. At SERVPRO, our water damage specialists have the experience, expertise, and equipment to restore your property quickly and efficiently. From floods to leaking pipes, our water removal and cleanup process will make your home look “Like it never it happened”. Contact our office as soon as possible to learn more about how our Disaster Recovery Team can help you and your home today!
How to spot water damage
In general, a house is one of the biggest investments you will make in your lifetime. In order to protect that investment, you should vigilantly look out for household problems and address them before they worsen.
One such dreaded homeowner issue is water damage. If left unattended, residential water damage can detrimentally impact the structure or spawn other complications, including mold that poses a health risk to inhabitants. Here are several methods for detecting water damage within your house.
1. Check the Floors
No matter what kind of flooring you have, it will manifest signs of water damage. For tile and wood, look for cracked, buckling or warped flooring. When it comes to carpet, be wary of damp spots, gradual rises, soft spots or the smell of mold and dampness.
2. Look for Stains
Water stains on the floor around the bathtub, toilet or sink, as well as stains on ceilings and walls, are some of the most obvious signs of water damage. Unusual stains could indicate there is a leaky pipe or drain inside the wall. Cracks in the drywall or areas that appear swollen and are soft to touch also may signify trouble. Peeling paint is another sign of loose water within wall spaces. As the drywall gets saturated, paint can lose adhesion.
3. Inspect Outside
Observe the exterior of your house. What you want to look for are pools of standing water that can indicate poor drainage in the yard, gutter spouts that aren’t transporting water far enough from the house or leaky rain gutters. Any of those issues could threaten the foundation of your house. Additionally, common signs of water damage on the roof may include pools of water; cracked, curled or missing shingles; or broken flashing.
4. Watch for Rust and Mold
Inspect your water heater and check for rust on the tank or damp spots on the floor. A rusted tank could indicate a slow leak. Additionally, corrosion around pipe connections could be caused by water seepage. Visual signs of active mold growth mean moisture is contacting microscopic mold spores, often in the nooks and crannies of your home. Finally, don’t rely solely on sight. When water stagnates, mold and bacteria can grow, producing a musty, unpleasant smell.
How to Locate Leaks with a Moisture Meter
When it comes to leaks in a structure, whether that structure is an office or a home, timeliness is of the utmost importance in minimizing the cost of a leak. Leaks not only add to the cost of a utility bill, the damage caused by water intrusion into the structure can require thousands of dollars of remediation and repair.
For many common leaks, finding and fixing the source of the problem is relatively straightforward. For example, a leaky faucet or shower head might require the tightening or replacement of a seal, and the source of the leak is in plain sight. However, not all leaks occur in simple, easy to reach or see spots. Sometimes, water intrusion occurs in places where you cannot immediately see it, such as behind a wall or in the ceiling, where the visible signs of a leak might not appear right away.
Moisture meters are a very helpful tool for detecting the presence of moisture in building materials, and for helping to pinpoint the source of that moisture intrusion, even when the origin point may be out of sight.
“How so,” you ask?
Tracing Leaks in Dry Plaster, Brick, and Concrete
Masonry materials such as dry plaster, brick, and concrete typically have very little moisture in them. Sometimes, when these materials are tested with a moisture meter in a reference scale mode, there is so little moisture that the meter cannot detect it.
Thankfully, if you find moisture in one of these materials, there’s a trick you can use to pinpoint the origin point of a leak in masonry materials. To pull it off, you’ll need the following:
A nail, one made of a ductile metal.
A pin-type moisture meter such as the BD 2100.
To start the process, drive the nail into the area of the masonry that you know to be wet. Then, attach the insulated wire to the nail and one of the meter’s contact pins.
Once the wire is attached to one of the contact pins, apply the other pin to different parts of the wall where you suspect the leak may be originating from. If the meter gives a “wet” response, the wall is wet between the two contact points. If the meter gives a “dry” response, the material is not in the path of a leak.
Repeat the test until you’ve identified the limit of the “wet” response area.
This trick should help you pinpoint the origin point of a leak behind a masonry wall.
Testing Insulation for Moisture
Wet insulation loses its ability to keep a building's temperature stable, and can become a mold colony if given enough time.When loosely-packed insulation gets wet, the moisture not only ruins the value of the insulation as a means to keep the temperature of a building stable, that insulation becomes a potential host for mold. Over time, the moisture trapped in insulation will begin to affect the structures that the insulation is in contact with, causing damage.
To test insulation, you will want to use a moisture meter with extended-length probes such as Delmhorst’s 21-E electrode with #608 pins, which are insulated pins that penetrate to 3 1/4” deep (6” penetration type also available). Because only the tips of these pins are uninsulated, you’ll be able to identify just how deep into the insulation the moisture pocket goes.
While you won’t have to tear down the whole wall to get at the insulation to start testing, you will need to drill two holes that are 3/16” in diameter, set one inch apart in your siding or drywall. Once the holes have been drilled, push the pins into the holes and start taking readings at different depths using the reference scale setting of your meter. The reference scale setting will give you a qualitative reading of whether or not moisture is present in the material being tested.
When you’re finished taking readings, seal the holes that were drilled with an appropriate filler.
Depending on the distribution of moisture in the insulation, you may be able to establish whether the moisture is the result of a leak or if it is caused by condensation.
In side walls and roof insulation, moisture intrusion is generally the result of leaks in the roof or other structural defects in the side walls that allow water (such as from melting snow & ice) to penetrate the structure. During cold weather, water vapor in the air will condense, with some remaining trapped in the insulation.
Generally speaking, when moisture intrusion comes from a pipe leak in the wall, you’ll see much higher concentrations of moisture below the pipe, with little moisture being present in material above the pipe.
By using moisture meters to help you pinpoint the location of a leak in your structure, you can save time and money by letting your plumber or restoration professional know where the leak is coming from. The less time they have to spend looking for a leak, the lower your cost for labor will be.
FLOOD SAFETY ADVICE
The most important thing to consider when entering a flood damaged property is safety. There can and will be hazards all around, from problems with electrical items and natural gas appliances to contaminated water, mold and much, much more. This is not meant to be an all-inclusive list of precautions, but a list of things you might not think about. Please use common sense before entering the property. If it doesn’t appear safe, DO NOT ENTER. Call a professional to make sure.
Before you turn anything on or plug in an appliance, have an electrician check the house wiring and appliances to make sure it is safe to use.
If any of the appliances have been under water, have them dried out and reconditioned by a qualified service repairman. Do not use any electrical appliance that has not been checked out or reconditioned because it poses an electrical shock hazard and could overheat the appliance and cause a fire.
If you use any electrical equipment for cleanup, i.e. wet-dry vacuum, power tools etc. be sure they are plugged into a Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI). Do not allow power cords to be submerged or wet. Never remove or bypass the ground pin on a three-pronged plug in order to insert it into a non-grounded outlet. Electrical circuit breakers and fuses that have been submerged need to be discarded and replaced with new.
Have all gas appliances (LP and natural gas) inspected and serviced before using. This includes gas furnaces, water heaters, cook stoves etc. If they were underwater have the gas controls replaced. Water and silt can damage gas controls and cause them to not operate properly. If you smell gas or hear it escaping, turn off the main line valve, open windows, and leave the area. Call the gas company and report the problem. Never use any electrical appliance, turn lights on or off, light a match, or us the telephone. These all may produce sparks.
Smoke detectors need to be tested before and after any work is done in the house. Smoke detectors can save your life in case of fire or smoke.
Many deaths have occurred during cleanup work while burning charcoal for cooking and staying warm. Never burn charcoal appliances inside homes, mobile homes, garages, cars, trucks, tents, or campers. Charcoal gives off carbon monoxide when burned. Carbon monoxide is odorless and can kill you.
Remember to keep household chemicals and medicines locked up or stored out of children’s reach.
Problems with Stormwater Pollution
Stormwater runoff is generated from rain and snowmelt events that flow over land or impervious surfaces, such as paved streets, parking lots, and building rooftops, and does not soak into the ground. The runoff picks up pollutants like trash, chemicals, oils, and dirt/sediment that can harm our rivers, streams, lakes, and coastal waters. To protect these resources, communities, construction companies, industries, and others, use stormwater controls, known as best management practices (BMPs). These BMPs filter out pollutants and/or prevent pollution by controlling it at its source.
The NPDES stormwater program regulates some stormwater discharges from three potential sources: municipal separate storm sewer systems (MS4s), construction activities, and industrial activities. Operators of these sources might be required to obtain an NPDES permit before they can discharge stormwater. This permitting mechanism is designed to prevent stormwater runoff from washing harmful pollutants into local surface waters.
Authorization Status for EPA's Stormwater Construction and Industrial Programs – Most states are authorized to implement the stormwater NPDES permitting program. EPA remains the permitting authority in a few states, territories, and on most land in Indian Country.
Population growth and the development of urban/urbanized areas are major contributors to the amount of pollutants in the runoff as well as the volume and rate of runoff from impervious surfaces. Together, they can cause changes in hydrology and water quality that result in habitat modification and loss, increased flooding, decreased aquatic biological diversity, and increased sedimentation and erosion. The benefits of effective stormwater runoff management can include:
protection of wetlands and aquatic ecosystems,
improved quality of receiving waterbodies,
conservation of water resources,
protection of public health, and
Traditional stormwater management approaches that rely on peak flow storage have generally not targeted pollutant reduction and can exacerbate problems associated with changes in hydrology and hydraulics.
The big benefit of plain water.
“Water, water, every where, nor any drop to drink.” Unlike Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s Ancient Mariner, who was surrounded by undrinkable salt water, most Americans have an unlimited supply of clean water to quench our thirsts.
Yet many of us turn a blind eye to it and instead reach for other beverages throughout the day, like sodas, juices, coffee, and tea, despite warnings from health experts over recent years about the added calories in sweetened beverages and the health benefits of plain water.
Now a recent study in the Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics provides even more evidence that we should choose water over other drinks if we want to control our weight. For the study, researchers from the University of Illinois looked at data on the eating (and drinking) habits of 18,311 adults as recorded in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey between 2005 and 2012.
Survey participants were asked to recall their dietary intake over two separate days. They reported their consumption of plain water (which included tap water, water from fountains and water coolers, and bottled water) as well as their consumption of other beverages like soda, fruit drinks, energy drinks, sports drinks, and sweetened bottled waters. Participants were also questioned about their intake of “energy-dense, nutrient-poor” foods, like cookies, ice cream, chips, and pastries.
On average, participants drank 4.2 cups of plain water a day and took in 2,157 calories. About 125 of those calories came from sweetened beverages, and about 432 calories came from energy-dense, nutrient-poor foods.
The researchers found that the participants who drank the most plain water in their daily diet consumed fewer total calories, drank fewer sweetened beverages, and took in less total fat, saturated fat, sugar, salt, and cholesterol. In fact, they discovered that increasing plain water consumption by one to three cups a day could decrease calorie intake by 68 to 205 calories a day. That could add up to a lot fewer calories over time — and result in significant weight loss.
These results support prior research on this topic, which has shown that drinking water before meals and that substituting water for sweetened beverages can cut down on calorie intake and improve weight control. That means people interested in losing weight and improving their overall health could benefit from incorporating more plain water into their daily diet.
So next time you’re thirsty, instead of ignoring your kitchen sink at home or the bubbler at work, take a moment to savor the one drink that’s free, refreshing, and actually good for us: plain old water.
What to do before during and after.
Floods are one of the most common hazards in the United States. Flood effects can be local, impacting a neighborhood or community, or widespread, affecting entire river basins and multiple states.
Not all floods are alike. Some develop slowly, sometimes over a period of days. But flash floods can develop quickly, sometimes in just a few minutes and without any visible signs of rain. Flash floods often have a dangerous wall of roaring water that carries rocks, mud, and other debris and can sweep away most things in its path.
Be aware of flood hazards no matter where you live, but especially if you live in a low-lying area, near water or downstream from a dam. Every state is at risk from this hazard.
BEFORE A FLOOD
Avoid building in a flood-prone area unless you elevate and reinforce your home.
Elevate the furnace, water heater, and electric panel if susceptible to flooding.
Install "check valves" in sewer traps to prevent water from backing up into the drains of your home.
Contact community officials to find out if they are planning to construct barriers (levees, beams, floodwalls) to stop water from entering the homes in your area.
Seal the walls in your basement with waterproofing compounds to avoid seepage.
DURING A FLOOD
If a flood is likely in your area, you should:
Listen to the radio or television for information.
Be aware that flash flooding can occur. If there is any possibility of that in your area, move immediately to higher ground. Do not wait for instructions to move.
Be aware of streams, drainage channels, canyons, and other areas known to flood suddenly. Flash floods can occur in these areas with or without such typical warnings as rain clouds or heavy rain.
If you must prepare to evacuate, you should do the following:
Secure your home. If you have time, bring in outdoor furniture. Move essential items to an upper floor.
Turn off utilities at the main switches or valves if instructed to do so. Disconnect electrical appliances. Do not touch electrical equipment if you are wet or standing in water.
If you have to leave your home, remember these evacuation tips:
Do not walk through moving water. Six inches of moving water can make you fall. If you have to walk in water, walk where the water is not moving. Use a stick to check the firmness of the ground in front of you.
Do not drive into flooded areas. If flood waters rise around your car, abandon the car and move to higher ground if you can do so safely. You and the vehicle can be quickly swept away.
AFTER A FLOOD
The following are guidelines for the period following a flood:
Listen for news reports to learn whether the community’s water supply is safe to drink.
Avoid flood waters; water may be contaminated by oil, gasoline, or raw sewage. Water may also be electrically charged from underground or downed power lines.
Avoid moving water.
Be aware of areas where flood waters have receded. Roads may have weakened and could collapse under the weight of a car.
Stay away from downed power lines, and report them to the power company.
Return home only when authorities indicate it is safe.
Stay out of any building if it is surrounded by flood waters.
Use extreme caution when entering buildings; there may be hidden damage, particularly in foundations.
Service damaged septic tanks, cesspools, pits, and leaching systems as soon as possible. Damaged sewage systems are serious health hazards.
Clean and disinfect everything that got wet. Mud left from floodwater can contain sewage and chemicals.
Floods and flash floods occur within all 50 states and can be extremely dangerous. They are the most common and widespread of all natural disasters next to fire, so knowledge and preparation is extremely important and will help keep losses to a minimum.
7 things you should do following a flood.
Flooding can be a scary, dangerous disaster, and if not dealt with swiftly and properly after the fact, you could be in for even more lingering effects. It is recommended to bring your home back into good repair as soon as you can, so as to protect your health (such as from mold) as well as preventing further damage.
But how do you do that? Great question. Let’s dive in (pun intended) and learn more about what you should do following a flood. Floodsmart.gov has many great suggestions, some of which we’ll be looking at in this article.
While you will probably want to share your experience on social media, the pictures you take of the damages can - and should - be used by your insurance company when processing your claims. So before you start cleaning out and clearing up, make sure you photograph the mess your home is in, or else risk losing out on some coverage.
Floodsmart.gov recommends boiling all water for drinking and cooking until local authorities deem your water supply is safe. Because flood water can bring in a host of contaminates (including sewage, muck, and other things you don’t want in your system), you’ll want to make sure you have a way to treat your water before drinking it. Otherwise, be prepared to get a lot of bottled water from the store.
Since flood water can be super nasty, it’s best to wear rubber boots to keep the water away from your skin. Likewise, wear gloves and other protective clothing while working to clear your house of leftover water and debris.
Keep Power Off
If you’re wading around in your flooded home, the last thing you want is to be zapped by a live current. Turn your power off and you’ll be just fine.
Remove Wet Contents Immediately
Mold grows quickly
, so make sure you get rid of all your wet belongings to avoid as much as possible. Washing walls and floor will also help keep mold out. Unfortunately, in order to clean floors, you might have to tear it out and replace it. But that’s better than leaving a flooded floor inside and having mold grow underneath it, which will cause health problems later on.
File an Insurance Claim
This goes without saying, but you need to have a flood insurance policy before you can actually file a claim. And remember, that policy needs to be purchased at least 30 days before a flood, or else the claim is void.
Unless you’re happy with your new built-in swimming pool, it’s time to remove the water from your home. Buckets are one way to bail out your home, but a more effective way is to use a sump pump. You can find these at most home supply stores. A wet vac is also necessary to dry up that water, which will also help reduce mold growth.
Avoid Flooded Water
Lastly, avoid flood water in streets, yards, or anywhere else. Dangerous debris can harm you. If you get cut while standing in that water the dirty, deadly contaminants and organisms can creep in to your wound and infect it, compromising your health. Flood waters may also continue to have a strong current, and even shallow water can sweep you off your feet. So be very careful around flood waters.
Floods are the most common disaster in the United States and can be very dangerous and devastating. Make sure you know what to do following a flood before it happens, so when it does come you can go right to work.
Do new rules make Florida water safer or more toxic?
The agency charged with protecting it says it's very safe, especially with the approval this week of a new rule that imposes limits on 39 additional toxic substances and updates allowed limits on 43 other chemicals dumped into Florida's rivers, streams and coastal waters.
"Each and every criterion protects Floridians, according to both EPA and the World Health Organization," the Department of Environmental Protection said last week after the governor's Environmental Regulation Commission approved the new water quality rule on a narrow 3-2 vote.
But environmentalists are so convinced that Florida's water will be further harmed, they are ready to go to war.
They say the new rules allow for higher levels of carcinogens and chemicals that can disrupt natural hormones to be discharged into Florida waters. They claim that weak enforcement by the Department of Environmental Protection already fails to shield Florida's drinking water from health-harming contaminants.
"That policy now says that more Floridians are expendable to cancer and other serious health diseases in order for industries to be more profitable," said Linda Young, executive director of the Florida Clean Water Network, which tried and failed to get the commission to reject the DEP's proposed rule.
The rule updates the state's water quality standards for the first time since 1992 by allowing for 23 toxics, including 18 carcinogens, to be discharged from industrial polluters at higher levels. The chemicals are among those released by oil and gas drilling companies, dry cleaners, pulp and paper producers, electricity plants, wastewater treatment plants and agriculture.
Under the new rules, at least 10 chemicals will now be allowed to be discharged into drinking water sources in amounts that exceed current drinking water standards.
"That means, if the new criteria goes into effect, then those waters could have higher levels of those chemicals than it is legal to send to homes for drinking," Young said. "So the utilities would have to get those chemicals out before putting it in our tap water.''
The Clean Water Network and numerous other environmental groups are asking the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to reject the rule and order the state to revise it.
Florida regulators test the water bodies once every five years. They allow industries to release toxics into rivers and aquifers daily based on permits. The industries report to the DEP on how well they meet the discharge goals, and the agency orders corrective action if it believes a company has exceeded the limits.
If the EPA approves the new rules, chemicals such as benzene, beryllium, trichloroethane, dichloroeylene and at least six other toxic substances will be allowed at levels higher than what the state considers safe for drinking water, agency records show.
If there are more toxics in Florida's drinking water sources, utility companies must clean the water before piping it into homes, said Dee Ann Miller, a DEP spokesperson.
Take benzene, for example. The chemical is used as a solvent and degreaser of metals and is often found in oil and gas drilling operations, in gasoline and has been found to get into groundwater from leaking underground petroleum tanks.
The federal government uses two rules to regulate benzene and dozens of other hazardous chemicals in water. One is the Safe Drinking Water Act and the other is the Clean Water Act. EPA's recommended standard for benzene in tap water is 0, but the maximum level it will allow is 0.005 micrograms per liter.
Florida has set its benzene standard for drinking water higher than zero but lower than the maximum allowed by EPA. The DEP has set the safe standard at 0.001 parts per million, or 0.001 micrograms per liter.
That means that water coming out of your tap must have no more than 0.001 micrograms of benzene per liter "to reduce the risk of cancer or other adverse health effects," according to the DEP.
Under federal Clean Water Act standards, benzene and other chemicals are allowed at higher levels — ranging from a low of 0.58 micrograms per liter to 21 micrograms per liter, said Miller.
The current law allows for 1.18 micrograms of benzene per liter in drinking water sources. The new rules would double that level to 2 micrograms per liter, forcing water companies to clean it even more than they currently do.
Bart Bibler, a former water regulator at the DEP and former bureau chief of the water program at the Department of Health, warns that while the new regulations assume that water utilities will remove the higher levels of chemicals from Florida waters, there is nothing that protects the 4 million Floridians who rely on private water wells.
"These wells aren't tested; they're essentially unregulated," Bibler said. "Nobody is notifying them to be on alert that the chemical compounds are increasing."
How to prepare for a flood
This flood was caused by a storm.
Flooding is the most common natural disaster in the United States and can happen anywhere. How to Prepare for a Flood explains how to protect yourself and your property, and details the steps to take now so that you can act quickly when you, your home, or your business is in danger.
Flooding is an overflowing of water onto land that is normally dry. Flooding may happen with only a few inches of water, or it may cover a house to the rooftop.
Flooding can occur during any season, but some areas of the country are at greater risk at certain times of the year. Coastal areas are at greater risk for flooding during hurricane season (i.e., June to November), while the Midwest is more at risk in the spring and during heavy summer rains. Ice jams occur in the spring in the Northeast and Northwest. Even the deserts of the Southwest are at risk during the late summer monsoon season.
Flooding can happen in any U.S. state or territory. It is particularly important to be prepared for flooding if you live in a low-lying area near a body of water, such as a river, stream, or culvert; along a coast; or downstream from a dam or levee.
Flooding can occur in several ways, including the following.
- Rivers and lakes cannot contain excessive rain or snowmelt.
- Excessive rain or snowmelt cannot be fully absorbed into the ground.
- Waterways are blocked with debris or ice and overflow.
- Water containment systems break, such as levees, dams, or water or sewer systems.
- Strong winds from tropical storms or hurricanes cause a storm surge by pushing seawater onto land.
The speed and duration of flooding can vary significantly.
- Flooding can occur slowly as rain continues to fall for many days. This type of flooding, sometimes called a slow-onset flood, can take a week to develop and can last for months before floodwaters recede.
- Rapid-onset floods occur more quickly, typically developing within hours or days. These types of floods usually occur in smaller watersheds experiencing heavy rainfall, particularly in mountainous and urban areas, and the water usually recedes within a few days.
- Some rapid-onset floods known as flash floods occur very quickly with little or no warning, such as during periods of extremely heavy rain or when levees, dams, ice jams, or water systems break. Densely populated areas are at a high risk for flash floods. In urban areas, flash floods can fill underpasses, viaducts, parking structures, low roads, and basements.
- The strong winds of a tropical cyclone or hurricane can push large amounts of seawater up onto the land, causing a storm surge. A storm surge combines with the ocean’s tide to produce a storm-tide surge. Storm-tide surges have been registered as high as almost 35 feet above normal sea level and can cause significant flooding across a large area. This generally occurs over a short period, typically 4 to 8 hours, but in some areas, it can take much longer for the water to recede to its pre-storm level.
The physical destruction caused by flooding depends on the speed and level of the water, the duration of the flood, terrain and soil conditions, and the built environment (e.g., buildings, roads, and bridges).
- Flooding can cause fatalities and serious injuries for people who are trapped or swept away by wading in, driving through, or boating across floodwaters.
- Transportation routes, power, water, gas, and other services may be disrupted.
- Commercial supplies and government support systems may be temporarily unavailable.
- Drinking water supplies and wells may become polluted.
- Floodwaters can cause erosion, which can damage roads, bridge structures, levees, and buildings with weak foundations, causing their collapse without warning. The floodwaters may carry the worn-away mud, rocks, and other sediment.
- Landslides and mudslides can occur.
- Even a few inches of floodwater in a home can cause tens of thousands of dollars in damage.
America's PrepareAthon! www.ready.gov/prepare