Air Contamination Becomes Growing Concern in Chestermere

chestermere flooding

Severe thunderstorms cut power to traffic lights and homes while heavy rains inundated neighbourhoods Sunday morning, slamming Langdon and Chestermere with overland flooding.

Air Contamination Becomes Growing Concern in Chestermere, Alberta
As more and more concerns begin to surface in terms of how safe remediation processes really are, one big concern that is coming into play is air contamination. After the recent devastation, homes that were left for long periods of time sitting in stagnant water are now at risk of mold contamination, which can also lead to serious air contamination.
Recently, in the news you may have seen the devastation of the flash flooding that took place in Chestermere. Two flash floods in less then a week.
Basically what happens is when people go into the basements of course they want to get everything out right away,…but they’re not taking any precautions as to whether there is asbestos or mold contamination….If there was a large mold contamination and it’s been disturbed, that mold will give off a mycotoxin. That’s when you run into musty odour, earthy urine-like odours….[With respect to asbestos] it is a very tiny fibre that has a fish hook resemblance, so when it gets into the lung, it locks itself in and doesn’t come out then causes an infection and the next thing you know cancers start to grow. With asbestos, we all know that it’s lethal, and usually takes around 20 years to set in before someone actually gets sick from it.
Before re-occupying a home after clean up and to avoid potential health complications from poor air quality caused by mold and asbestos, got mold? recommends air quality tests be done:
When reoccupying the home, what people should be doing is contacting a professional company to come out and do an assessment to test the air for mold and asbestos fibres then send that off to a lab and get that information.
An air quality test will determine if there are asbestos or mold concerns. This is important because if mold spores or asbestos fibres have been disturbed, they will settle in other parts of the home. As stated by Watson:
(In the future) every time someone starts the vacuum or walk across the carpet the spores go back into the air, then you’re breathing it in, and the problem is you can’t see the spores that can cause future problems.
Air quality tests for mold are important because they will compare the spore count inside of the house with the spore count outside of the house. For instance, when one house was tested, outdoor mold spore contamination was at a level of roughly 3,800 spores/m3, and in comparison, indoor levels of the contaminated home reached roughly 107,500 spores/m3. Such a high spore count is not healthy.
With respect to asbestos, any home built before 1990 should be tested for air borne asbestos fibres. Friable fibres in the air are a serious hazard to one’s health. To learn more about why asbestos is hazardous, watch the video below prepared by WorkSafe BC.
According to President James C. Watson founder of got mold? Disaster Recovery Services, the results of the air quality test will give the property owner the right information to determine if it is safe to re-occupy the house. If the results prove there is evidence of mold or asbestos, then Watson recommends that professionals be hired to abate the issues because reputable restoration companies use specific procedures to prevent cross contamination and specialized equipment to clean the air.
In addition, Watson believes that the key to preventing future mold issues is to ensure that the home is completely dried out before any reconstruction begins. This is vitally important because if moisture is trapped between insulation and drywall, mold will grow again. In the words of Watson, “drywall is a buffet for mold.” Not only will future mold growth causes health concerns, but it will also impact the structural integrity of the property.
We just want to make sure that the air quality is safe when reoccupying the home. And if it has already been reoccupied, then lets put that stamp of approval on it
Well stated Mr. Watson. If you are planning to re-occupy your home or are currently staying in your home after a flood and want to ensure that the air quality is safe, contact us. In addition, if you recently had your home remediated for mold and/or abated for asbestos and want to ensure that the contractor you hired did a proper job, contact us for Post-Remediation Verification, to ensure that the work was done right.

Flooding hits Chestermere and Langdon Alberta

chestermere flooding

Severe thunderstorms cut power to traffic lights and homes while heavy rains inundated neighbourhoods Sunday morning, slamming Langdon and Chestermere with overland flooding.

Flooding hits Chestermere and Langdon Alberta

Parts of Chestermere & Langdon were under water Sunday. Residents in some areas of the city just east of Calgary awoke to water pooling in basements, streets and parks.

Alberta Emergency Management Agency advised Chestermere residents not to travel if possible.

Chestermere city staff are responding to reports of flooding and remain on “high alert” Tuesday afternoon after a thunder, lightning, hail and rain storm. The city said it had been monitoring water levels after a thunderstorm warning issued Tuesday, two days after flash flooding damaged over 300 homes.

The mayor also urged people to reduce their water usage until the city dries out, and stay out of intersections that are flooded.

The city said earlier on Tuesday it had applied to the provincial government to receive flooding assistance for residents affected by Sunday’s storm.

“City Council and Staff have been in contact with the Provincial Government in order to bring the flood situation to their attention and request funding help for our residents in what is a very difficult time for many people,” said Mayor Patricia Matthews in a statement.

In addition, the city is offering one free basement inspection per affected home for electrical, gas/plumbing and building to any resident affected by the flooding. Power had been restored to Chestermere and all roads were open as of 1:30 p.m. Tuesday. The city said tap water was safe to use, but urged people to scale back to “slow the flow to sewers.”

got mold? encourages people to get inspections done at the earliest that you can! Mold growth starts to occur within 24 hours, since it has already been 72 hours an environmental assessment must be performed, before you start moving out wet building material such as drywall and flooring a proper containment and negative air unit must be set up to avoid contamination of mold spores spreading through your home or office.

Trina Mitchell in Langdon: “So much water, it’s knee deep, so we brought out the kayaks.”

Trina Mitchell in Langdon: “So much water, it’s knee deep, so we brought out the kayaks.”

After flooding residents should:

  • Call your insurance company to report damaged property
    Take pictures of damaged property during/after flooding for insurance purposes
    If you are concerned about your insurance coverage, the City is applying to the Provincial Government for flooding assistance for those affected. It may take some time to hear back from the Provincial Government but the City will post any information we receive on our website, Facebook, and Twitter accounts once we hear anything.
  • CUI will be placing bins around the City for discarding damaged items. Visit www.cuinc.ca for locations
  • The City will be offering one FREE basement inspection per affected home for electrical, gas/plumbing, and building to anyone that needs it. Call them at 403-207-7075 to book an inspection. Homeowners may need to call other professionals for different types of inspections
  • Ensure power, gas, and water supplies/systems are checked by a professional before further use.

 

Saskatchewan and Alberta Air Quality Advisory: 2015

Fire Danger

Top areas affected by more than 100 wildfires across Canada

 

Saskatchewan and Alberta Air Quality Advisory

As many of our readers are aware, there has been high amounts of smoke and wildfires in Northern Saskatchewan & Alberta. The air quality in the outdoor environment has caused some concern for many people with respiratory issues, children & pregnant woman.

The largest fire near Weyakwin is three times the size of Yorkton. The Star Phoenix reports around 1,000 people in Saskatchewan have been forced to take shelter in other communities away from the wildfires, in schools, rec centres and hotels. However, the number of evacuees is likely to be higher, because the province’s social services ministry only tracks those in its care.
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Visibilities have been reduced to less than 2 km in many areas especially in Central and Northern Saskatchewan. Closer to the fires, air quality is poor in many areas due to the smoke,” Environment Canada says. “Smoke near the ground may cause potentially high health risk conditions. The smoke is expected to persist over the next couple of days as winds will remain from the northwest and little to no precipitation is expected to flush out the smoke and haze.”

There have been 510 fires in 2015 to date. There are nearly 50 fires that are larger than 100 hectares burning in Saskatchewan, spreading from one side of the province to the other in the north.

Travel not recommended in the La Ronge area while a fire ban remains in place for all of northern Saskatchewan. Fireworks are also prohibited.

While there is no immediate threat to La Ronge, the communities of Montreal Lake, Wadin Bay, Sucker River, English Bay, Nemeiben and Weyakwin are under evacuation.

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Montreal Lake Councillor Roger Bird said things became pretty intense when the fire came very close to the community, but with some help from provincial fire fighters they were able to save the homes.

In neighbouring Alberta, more than 130,000 hectares have burned as of June 29. Of 125 wildfires currently burning, 37 are out of control, according to a report from Monday.

The Northwest Territories are on their way to another active season, with more than 180,000 hectares burned and 166 fires burned to date. Officials are warning people in the town of Hay River to prepare to evacuation if the situation in that part of the territory worsens.

At this time we would like to remind our readers to take precaution if you need to be outdoors

  • If you have neighbors, friends or relatives that live alone, check periodically to make sure they are OK. Seniors and people with heart or lung conditions may get sick from the smoke. When doors and windows are kept closed to keep the smoke out, houses may also get very hot. This can lead to heat exhaustion or heatstroke. Use fans to move air around inside the house
  • Don’t run an air conditioner that needs to draw air in from the outdoors
  • When in your vehicle keep the air on recirculate to avoid sucking the smoke inside.
  • Keep physical activity outdoors to a minimum
  • Try and keep travel to a minimum
  • Patients with asthma or other respiratory conditions should be vigilant about avoiding smoke and continue taking their prescribed medication. These people should alsnot hesitate to take their rescue medication when they need it. People on home oxygen should not make any changes to their oxygen.
  • If you have room air cleaners with HEPA filters, turn them on.
  • If you are at work and begin to feel air quality issues in their work area, please alertyour director and or site leaders. Facilities and maintenance staff are doing what they can to mitigate the issue but it is impossible to make our buildings completely free of the smoke.
  • Drink plenty of water to keep your nose and mouth hydrated to keep breathing easy
  • Be alert to Public Service Announcements and updates from the Ministries of Health and Environment and further updates from the Region.

What Should I Do If I Have Mold In My Apartment? Part 2

What Should I Do If I Have Mold In My Apartment? Part 2

MOLD IN APARTMENT

Part #2 of what you should do if you have mold in your apartment

In the past, got mold? has blogged about what you should do if you have mold in your apartment. We have received numerous calls and emails about the issues people have had with landlords and what their experiences have been with the tactics they have tried to use in order to get the work done and up to code for health issues. We understand the concerns people have that live in low income housing and having to deal with landlords that won’t take action and want to help our readers understand that there are options available to you and your loved ones, but you need to act fast and document your concerns and the actions taken in order to get the work completed and to get the work done RIGHT.

Landlords have to maintain rental premises in a good state of repair and fit for habitation.  Tenants must repair damages that they cause through their actions or neglect.  Whether you are a landlord or a tenant, you may have to request repairs.  Hopefully, your request is all that is needed to get the work done. That being said, don’t wait to contact your landlord if you have a leak in your ceiling, windows, basement, bathroom or anywhere in your home. Leaving water to sit will not only damage the property but if it sinks into your walls or flooring it becomes more of an issue then you initially started out with, and in certain cases you may be found responsible for those damages due to neglect.

In every province and state you have a landlord tenant act. This is in place for provincial / state regulations as every location has different bylaws and rules that need to be followed by every location. A law in Saskatchewan may not be a law in New York, so make sure you speak to the right directory when putting in your complaint.

Communication solves a lot of problems, when dealing with the issue at hand, it may be best to document the complaint before immediately contacting the landlord and tenant board before even asking your landlord or rentalsman to fix the issue. Dealing with issues with a calm, mature level headed request can go a long way, but when it comes to your health we understand that sometimes it is hard to remain calm while requesting such repairs. Assuming that you have already done this, the next step would be to actually contact the board and always remember to document your complaint and how long it has taken to get the work done.
This agreement should set a precedent throughout North America forcing landlords to take proper measures to reduce tenant exposure to mold, which has clearly been linked to childhood asthma as reported in this NBC Dateline documentary.

Landlords may ask the tenant to repair the problem they have, but please do not result in going to google for the most simple DIY and end up with more issues than you had to begin with.  Read up on some of the things you should know about mold before you begin your project, such as do’s and don’ts. 

Health Canada recommends that all mould, regardless of the species, be cleaned and that the underlying water or humidity problem be dealt with quickly to prevent potential health issues.

If you are currently renting and are dealing with mold issues, then the information and links above provide you with lots of information to help you address the situation with your landlord. However, if you are currently planning to rent an apartment and are concerned about mold, then Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation advises that you should consider these factors in your search:

1. Avoid basement apartments which tend to be damp and prone to mould-growth;
2. Avoid upper-floor apartments in buildings that have wet basements, since mould spores can circulate throughout the entire building;
3. Avoid apartments that do not have working kitchen or bathroom fans;
4. Avoid apartments with old carpets, or ask the landlord to change them before you move in; and
5. Avoid buildings that have a history of roof or plumbing leaks.

Mans Best Friend Can Also Detect Mold

Mold Detection Certified Dogs can save the consumer thousands in pinpointing the location of the mold in a building.

Mold Detection Certified Dogs can save the consumer thousands in pinpointing the location of the mold in a building.

Dogs have been used for years by military and law enforcement agencies to detect bombs and drugs, among other things. In Europe, dogs have been used to detect mold for over 20 years.

Mold frequently grows in hidden places, inside wall cavities, underneath floors and in inaccessible areas and is often not visible until the problem is more advanced. When moisture builds up from leaky pipes, roofs, basements or high humidity, conditions are ideal for mould growth. Moulds are easily disturbed and their spores can become airborne causing a possible threat to the building or the health of the occupants. Exposure to some types of moulds can cause serious health effects such as respiratory infection, asthma attacks, skin rashes, eye infections, ear infections, nosebleeds and headaches. In rare cases toxic mould can cause cancer and even death.

Certified Mold Dogs detect and pinpoint exact areas of mold, which leads to lower remediation costs for homeowners and insurers.

A MOLD DOG can get to places faster than people, and can detect mold in places that people can’t reach. Human inspectors might be in a building for four hours performing Indoor Air Quality tests and sampling and even using thermal imaging cameras before finding the mold where as a mold dog can sniff it out and represents the newest tool for consumers in North America to detect and more importantly, pinpoint mold in structures, thus lowering remediation costs.

Top 5 Reasons to use a mold dog

1. Mold Dogs are a Proven Technology. In Europe, dogs have been used to detect mold for over 20 years.
2. A Mold Dog  is an Effective Problem Solver. Mold Dogs can quickly and more accurately inspect a home.
3. A Mold Dog’s Nose is a More Accurate Tool. The “Nose” is cutting-edge technology in the home inspection industry. It is the only inspection tool that can detect and pinpoint sources of mold.
4. A Dog Will Help You Manage Your Exposure to Mold. Quicker and more accurate detection of mold leads to lower remediation costs. For schools, hotels, commercial, and government buildings, savings can be quite substantial.
5. A Dog Provides Honest and Credible Results. Mold-detection dogs aren’t biased.