Congratulations To Our Most Recently Certified Water Restoration Technicians

Congratulations To Our Most Recently Certified Water Restoration Technicians, Matt Drinkwalter  & Billy Apostal

We are very proud off all of our employees and are committed to providing them with the latest in education. We keep our team members certified and constantly learning.

The Water Damage Restoration Technician course is designed to teach restoration personnel that perform remediation work to give them a better concept of water damage, it’s effects and techniques for drying of structures. This course will give residential and commercial maintenance personnel the background to understand the procedures necessary to deal with water losses, sewer back-flows, and contamination such as mold.

There are two key questions your water damage restoration contractor must be able to answer. First, what is the category of water? Second, how much damage or destruction has the water caused? Answers to these questions enable the water damage restoration contractor to create a professional scope of work and action plan.

What are the categories of water?

According to the IICRC, there are several different levels and classes involved in liquid destruction. From the IICRC’s S-500 standards, there are three categories describing the type of liquid involved:

Category 1 Water (Clean Water)

Water that originated directly from a sanitary source and when exposed to it, either through the skin, inhaled or ingested, does not cause a great deal of harm to humans. Examples of Category 1 Water: broken water supply lines, melting ice or snow, falling rain water, and tub or sink overflows (no contaminates).

Category 2 Water (Gray Water)

Defined as water with bacteria present, but no solid waste, carrying microorganisms and nutrients for microorganisms. Category 2 water does have the potential to cause discomfort or sickness if consumed or exposed to humans. Examples of Category 2 water: discharge from dishwashers or washing machines, toilet bowl overflows (urine, no feces), seepage due to hydrostatic pressure, and sump pump failures.

Category 3 Water (Black Water)

Contains pathogenic agents and is grossly unsanitary which includes raw sewage and other contaminated water sources, such as flooding from sea water, ground surface water and rising water from rivers or streams. To learn more about Category 3, read our two part series which described some of the challenges we faced during the Calgary flood in 2013.

HOW MUCH DAMAGE OR DESTRUCTION HAS THE WATER CAUSED?

According to the IICRC there are four classes of destruction:

Class 1

The lowest and easiest to deal with, this has a slow evaporation rate. Only part of a room or area was affected, there is little or no wet carpet, and the moisture has only affected materials with a low permeance rate, such as plywood or concrete.

Class 2

With a fast evaporation rate, this level affects an entire room, carpeting, or cushioning, the wetness has wicked up the walls at least 12”, and there is moisture remaining in structural materials.

Class 3

This class has the fastest evaporation rate, and ceilings, walls, insulation, carpet and sub-floors are all saturated. The liquid may have come from overhead.

Class 4

This class is labeled as specialty drying situations, which means there has been enough liquid and time to saturate materials with very low permeance, such as hardwood, brick, or stone.

It is important to understand that when you experience water damage, the longer you wait to begin dealing with the concern, the worse it can get. You should not allow the water to sit because the risk of bio-hazard increases. In short, in 2 to 3 days, category 1 water can turn into category 2 water and eventually category 3 water as other bacteria and pathogens begin to proliferate.

Bottom line, act immediately. Call a restoration professional to assess the category of water and extent of damage. Once this is determined, the scope of work will assess structural issues based on the class of damage, outline what contents need to be removed, how to deal with and remove excess water, a drying and monitoring strategy using air movers and dehumidifers, and a sanitizing plan to ensure a healthy environment.

It is important to understand that the goal of water damage restoration is to restore the property to pre-loss condition. With this in mind, once all the work has been done we strongly advise that you hire a Third Party Environmental consultant to perform post-remediation tests, particularly, if any mold or category 2 or 3 water was present. This final step will provide further peace of mind that the water damage restoration contractor you hired did a professional job.

 

Do you work for a company that renovates buildings built prior to 1990?

Do you work for a company that renovates buildings built prior to 1990?

We had a successful first year at the Homestyle’s show with many contractors and home & building owners coming to our booth with questions about mold, asbestos and radon.

I was prompted to write this article after one particular visitor came to our trade show booth for some answers and explained his concerns of his employer not testing for asbestos on their job sites. This gentleman told me that since the downturn in the economy the well known Saskatoon company he works for has moved from constructing new buildings to demolition and renovation work, just as many other builders have done in an effort to keep their businesses afloat.

The story is that they are running into vermiculite and other questionable building materials that most likely contain asbestos and when it has been brought up by himself or other employees, they are told that the materials most likely don’t contain asbestos. They are also told that in order to have the materials tested and analyzed, it would take a couple weeks for results and that they would have no work for employees in this case. The truth is samples can be analyzed within 24 hours of testing. To me this is a very sad and scary situation to think that an employer is so desperate for work that they would be negligent and put their employees and customers life at risk just to keep busy. WorkSafe BC has stated in this youtube video that “Since the year 2000, more workers have died from asbestos disease than any other workplace injury”.

If you work for a contractor that does demolition and renovation work in buildings built prior to 1990 without first having a hazardous building materials survey/audit performed, you must speak to your OH&S committee and state your concerns. If the company does not have an OH&S committee, you may want to consider finding a different job or go directly to OH&S. Here is the Saskatchewan asbestos abatement manual & regulations, your employer and all employees should be familiar with this manual.

Key lessons to be learned from this story are as follows:

1. Before starting a renovation project, your employer must hire a professional consultant to determine whether the building has materials that contain asbestos.

2. Determine whether or not the project will potentially disturb the asbestos.

3. Determine if the materials are friable or non friable which will help determine if the project requires low, moderate or high risk abatement.

4. If the consultant finds that the renovation project could release asbestos fibres into the air, then your employer must have an abatement plan in place by working with a professional abatement contractor.

got mold?™ At the Homestyle’s Home Show in Saskatoon

got mold?™ At the Homestyle’s Home Show in Saskatoon

We invite you to come join us at Homestyle’s in Saskatoon at Prairie Land Park, 503 Ruth Street West this weekend. You can enter both of our draws, one for a free Radon test kit, and another for a mold and asbestos assessment/survey with a detailed report.

We are in row 500, directly across from Boryski Butcher Block Ltd., so you can grab some sausage, jerky or a tub of meat and cheese to snack on and don’t forget to take some home. Right beside us is Power roofing Systems and GT Showers & Doors.

There are several other great exhibitors such as J&H Builders with their featured tiny RTM homes, True North Log Homes and many more.

You can also come down and donate to the Children’s Hospital Foundation and purchase tickets from Gary Viden at Team Diabetes for your chance to win a trip for two to anywhere West Jet flies.

Wether you are renovating, thinking of renovating, looking for a tiny home (J&H Builders), need a brand new home, are in need of a new roof, new cookware (Treasure Chest Distributors), cutlery (Cutco) or anything else home related, this trade show is for you.

There’s plenty of candy, balloons and other treats for the kids, come out and show your support for local trusted contractors.

Show times for the weekend:

Saturday, March 11 10 am – 9 pm
Sunday, March 12 10 am – 5 pm

Tickets Cost:

Your ticket includes Main Stage and Bistro programming. Seating may be limited. See schedules for complete details.

Adults: $12.50
Seniors: $10.00 (55+over $8.00 on Thursday)
Children 12 & under: Free

Get your tickets at the door (CASH ONLY)

Parking:

Prairieland Park offers an abundance of free parking.

Speakers:

This year we’ve brought in HGTV stars, along with our local experts. Click HERE to see the schedule.

For more information visit the Homestyle’s web site.

We look forward to seeing you at the show. Keep posted on the winners of our two draws by checking our blog after the show.

Air Sampling Methods for Airborne Mold

Chaetomium and other mold spores

Nonviable Air Sample

Exposure to indoor airborne mold spores and toxins commonly occurs, and can cause allergic, toxic, and irritant symptoms and diseases. It is known that mold spores and hyphal fragments are normal components of both indoor and outdoor air. The difference between healthy and unhealthy environment is determined by the amount of mold, the types of mold spores present, and a persons sensitivity or susceptibility to mold. To determine whether the air is contaminated with elevated levels of mold spores and their composition, air samples are collected and sent to an accredited laboratory for analysis.

Air Sampling Methods

Culturable Air Sample

Culturable Air Sample

There are two methods for sampling air for airborne mold. Each method has it’s advantages and disadvantages. The method selected depends on the objective of the investigation. At times both methods may have to be used. The most commonly used method is to impact air on an inert clear sticky substance. Airborne particulates including mold spores, pollen, insect parts, skin cells, and others are trapped onto the sticky surface and can be visualized under a microscope in the laboratory. Samples collected using this method are often referred to as nonviable or non-culturable samples. The terms “nonviable” or “non-culturable” are rather misleading but they are supposed to mean that the samples are not cultured in the lab. Nonviable samples are collected using cassettes such as Air-O-cell, Allergenco D, Micro 5, and many other similar cassettes. The second method for airborne mold sampling involves impacting air on some growth media. These samples are normally referred to as culturable or viable samples. Once sent to the lab, these samples are incubated for mold to grow for identification. It is important to know when to collect nonviable or viable air samples. Sometimes you may need to collect both types of samples depending on the data needed which in turn depends on the purpose of investigation.

Airborne Mold Samples Results Interpretation

Interpretation of airborne mold samples results is not easy. The large number of mold species and strains that can occur in indoor environment and the large inter-individual variability in human response to mold exposure make it difficult to set exposure limits. Therefore, the determination of whether or not a building is contaminated is often based on a comparison of the mold spore concentrations and composition in the indoor air with outdoor air. The types of mold present can tell us a lot about the building condition. For example, presence of Chaetomium or Stachybotrys is an indication of existing or previous moisture damage.

Congratulations Canada!

Congratulations Canada, You have now joined the rest of the developed world! Last week Canadian parliament finally adopted legislation that has banned the use of all asbestos containing materials. Why? Well if you ask Justin Trudeau he might say something like, “Because it’s 2016”. While I joke about it, it’s not a laughing matter. I was listening to the radio on a recent trip to Calgary, and they had a government official on, and she was giving the stats on the number of people exposed to asbestos in the work place every year, the numbers were staggering. By government estimates, 150,000 Canadians are exposed to asbestos every year through their work, this number does not account for the thousands of people that do their own home renovations and unknowingly expose themselves and their loved ones to asbestos. Please take the time and listen to this segment on asbestos, and asbestos related diseases. https://omny.fm/shows/danielle-smith/full-show-xenophobic-legislature-exchange-russia-h  You will have to fast forward to the 42 minute mark. It’s worth a listen.