MITIGATE BACTERIA AND FUNGAL GROWTH AFTER FLOODING
By Louis Adams, MWR, MTC, MSR
After the flood waters recede, it is difficult to get to all the homes and businesses dry in a timely manner. With saturated materials, humidity increases and development of bio-film begins. This bio-film is what bacteria and fungus need to support their growth. Reducing the bio-film will stabilize the property and allow for the needed time to remove the saturated materials and get equipment into place for proper drying. We want to eliminate the bio-film while it is still relatively early in its development. This will reduce the demolition and repair to non-saturated material.
Over pressurize with oxidative gas. This could be CLO2 or Ozone. Do your own research as to the safety and efficacy of specific types and brands of CLO2. Humid environments reduce the ozone production by Corona Discharge method. Humidity has minimal affect on UV generated ozone. All three types require grams of active ingredient, in sufficient quantities, to interact with the contaminant and break it down. Using the Nuvoaire Ozone Calculator app, you can determine the amount of ozone needed and treatment time. For example, a 2000 SF home with 9 foot ceilings is 18000 CF, needs 360 grams over a 4-8 hour period. You need (2) 40 grams per hour units for 4.5 hours to stabilize the structure. This is for the entire property, not just the material that came in direct contact with the flood water.
Every 3-4 days you do this over pressured treatment and you kept bacterial and fungal growth from getting a foot hold in the property. Before volunteers or restoration contractors demo the saturated materials, an over-pressurized ozone treatment can buy time. After the saturated materials are removed, if no one can get to it for another few days, do another treatment. This is stabilizing or mitigating possible fungal growth throughout the property. This can minimize the need to tear out more of the structure later.Procedure to use High Output UV Generated Pure Ozone: Post signages regarding use of ozone before you begin.
- determine size of house, contamination level and surface area and enter into Ozone Calc app.
- choose equipment to set -- right sized and type ozone and air movers (to lift heavy ozone)
- set an air scrubber to over pressurize by bringing in clean fresh air. Turn on bathroom fan in upper level
- set fans throughout the property then place ozone machines near air intake and turn air on.
- set Ozone to empty into the air intake and set timer.
- monitor Ozone after 4 hours, using a full face respirator and remove ozone units and do not purge. Turn off fan.
- If after 3 days there is no progress in getting the area dried, treat it again.
- Repeat every 3 days until drying begins
- retreat after drying to destroy any bacteria or fungal growth that was missed with other treatments.
- after all the drying is complete, ozone the entire property for a final sanitization.
Following these steps will help you process more homes and get the property owner back with minimal disruption.
About the author, I have been in the cleaning and restoration industry since 1983. Started a successful full-service restoration company and for the last three years, restoration consulting. I have specialized in deodorization and disinfection, including new nano technology regarding hydroxyls and other oxidative processes to restore and maintain sanitary environments.Download as pdf
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