Flood Clean-Up and Damage Assessment
St. Charles County uses a damage assessment process to assist property owners in recovering from the flood. If you've had any water in your property, including the basement, an inspection is required. Learn more about the process and frequently asked questions:
First Steps for Re-Entering Your Structure
When returning after a flood, be aware that your house or business likely will be contaminated with mold or sewage, which can cause health risks to your family or employees. Wear protective clothing (boots, gloves, eyewear, breathing masks, etc.) when entering the structure. Wash hands regularly after any contact with flood water, items that may have been in flood water, and after leaving the structure. Be cautious for wild animals (live or dead) that may have used the structure as a refuge.
- Return only when the area has been declared safe by responding officials. Keep children and pets out of the area until clean-up is complete.
- Photograph damage to your property before and after cleaning for insurance purposes.
- If the structure has been closed for several days, open doors and windows to let the air circulate for at least 30 minutes before staying for any long period. Be alert for symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning: Headache, dizziness, nausea and confusion are a few indicators.
- Remove pooled water slowly. Pump out no more than two feet of water each day to equalize pressure inside and outside the foundation. Otherwise, walls and floors may collapse.
- Remove mud and debris from the home first. Then, scrub all areas with cleaning supplies and disinfect surfaces with a germ-killing product or chlorine bleach solution (recommended to use 1/8 teaspoon/0.75 milliliters of household bleach per gallon of water). Remove and discard any items that cannot be washed and disinfected.
- Dry ceilings and walls. Remove any flood-soaked wallboards to minimize mold growth. Discard carpet padding damaged by floodwater.
- Prevent mildew growth by air drying furniture, rugs, bedding, clothing and other wet materials as soon as possible. Use fans to circulate air inside the home. Wash and disinfect surfaces to kill spores that have already developed. Discard any material that was submerged for more than 24 hours or was contaminated with sewage or chemical waste.
Electrical Safety and Clean-Up
- Never turn power sources on or off while standing in water. If power lines are down outside the home, do not step in puddles or standing water.
- Hire a professional electrician to replace or recondition electrical wiring and equipment. All materials that were submerged by the flood must be replaced.
- Use a cleaning product or bleach solution to clean outside and inside all appliances that may be repaired and reused. When in doubt, throw it out.