Dealing with Flood Damage
Whether you have one inch or one foot of water in your basement, you need to know how to clean up the mess. You should start clean up as soon as the water recedes.
For your safety
- Be sure the electricity is turned off. In the case of severe flooding, do not use the electricity until a licensed electrician has checked your home.
- When using a flashlight, turn it on prior to entering the house. Do not use matches or any type of flame until you are sure there are no gas leaks, and the area has been aired out. Check to see if the pilot light is out.
- After outside flood waters have receded, drain only about 1/3 of the water in your basement initially. Outside pressure pushing against your basement walls can cause the basement walls to collapse. Start by pumping the water level down 2-3 feet, marking the level & wait overnight. If the water level goes up, wait 24 hours, and then repeat process.
- Destroy all fresh or frozen food, medicine or cosmetics that have been in contact with flood water, as they may have been contaminated.
- If you suspect your water supply is contaminated, you can have it tested by calling the Minneapolis Water Department laboratories at (612) 661-4999.
- If any appliances were touched by flood water, have them checked by a qualified serviceperson before operating them.
- Take pictures of flood damage and your cleanup efforts. Photographs are extremely helpful in documenting flood damage for insurance purposes.
- Keep track of how much of your personal time was spent on debris removal and cleanup.
- Use a disinfectant, such as 1 part bleach to 32 parts water, to scrub walls, floors, household items and appliances – clean everything that got wet. Protective gloves and appropriate eye protection should be worn.
- Make sure that heating systems are operable as soon as possible. You can use them to help dry out the basement.
- Clean all clothing, bedding, rugs, curtains, etc. as soon as possible, disinfecting if necessary
- Clean and dry furniture and mattresses, using a bleach solution
If your lawn has been underwater for less than four days, it should survive. The following items will help:
- Use a rake to clean away as much silt as possible
- Break up the silt crust with a rake or aerator until the grass has recovered
For more information about cleaning up, go to the University of Minnesota Extension Service home page. Search for floods.
North Dakota State University has a number of files about Flood Information found on their website.
Disclaimer: The items listed on this page are merely summaries of possible measures that can be used for dealing with flood damage. For more information about some specific how-to steps that you may want to consider, follow the provided links to other websites.
Last updated Mar 1, 2012