Cleanup efforts continue in wake of widespread flooding in Colchester County
Joe Kenny with Knight Kare Cleaning and Restoration cuts out the wall surrounding water pipes so he can begin work on the bathroom of a local business. The cleaning and restoration company has been going non-stop since Monday, when more than 100 millimetres of rain fell on Colchester County. Raissa Tetanish – Truro Daily News
TRURO - Before most people knew they'd be flooded on Monday, the telephone at Knight Kare Cleaning and Restoration started ringing.
And owner Kevin Wood said it hasn't stopped.
"It's been flat out," said Wood from in between visiting some of the places his crews are cleaning. "We are on call 24 hours a day, so we've been on the go non-stop."
More than 100 millimetres of rain fell on Colchester County on Monday as Hurricane Leslie made her way through the Maritimes.
Wood said clients are split almost evenly between residential and businesses, but there are still a number out there that haven't decided what they're going to do.
"Right now, most of them are in Truro. We're working right along the flood plain, on Robie Street, East Prince Street and out in Salmon River."
With six employees with Knight Kare, those affected by Monday's floods will keep the crews going for weeks, if not well into a month.
"There are people out there that still haven't gotten word from their insurance adjustor, and there are insurance adjustors that haven't even made contact with people," said Wood.
Wood said when his business is called, the first job is pumping out water before cleanup begins.
"There were a few we had to pump out but the water seemed to have receded quite a bit. We were surprised. The storm seemed to have come and gone much quicker than those in previous years, but the damage is pretty consistent with others."
While the company does the cleanup aspect, Wood said the rebuild is left to MU Rhino Renovations, which Knight Kare partners with.
"We could do it, but we prefer to leave it to somebody else."
Before cleaning companies can enter a home or business, the owners need to contact their insurance company.
"The insurance companies are the ones who tell us whether we pull up carpet or cut up a wall and how far. Sometimes they come to us for advice, but it's for them to decide what gets done."
The businessman said the cases seen so far this week fall under category three - for groundwater, floodwater or seawater damage.
"It's unsanitary, which is why most will need to be cut out," he said.
Tips for homeowners:
- Contact insurance agencies as soon as possible if there has been damage - make a list and document (photos or video) all damages and items to be discarded.
- Keep note of flood-related activity - time spent cleaning, for example - and keep copies of all invoices and receipts.
- Flooded appliances, electrical outlets, switch boxes or fuse and breaker panels should be checked by local utilities before use.
- If there's a smell of gas, leave and contact the gas company.
- Clean and dry out the house and salvageable possessions as quickly as possible.
- Household items contaminated by sewage, or that have been wet for a long time, should be bagged, tagged and discarded according to local regulations.
- Some food that has come into contact with floodwater must be discarded. Canned food can be cleaned. First, remove labels, then clean cans using a mixture of one tablespoon of bleach to one litre of water. Then label clean cans with a marker. Throw out any cans that are bulging, damaged or opened.
- Homeowners with private wells for drinking water should test the supply and not drink the water until they are certain it is safe to drink.
- After the water recedes, check on-site septic systems and contact the local environment office if it is not working.
- Homeowners should also ensure oil tanks are secure.