Flood aid group offering free mold remediation training - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Flood aid group offering free mold remediation training

Volunteers from a mold removal service have been in South Carolina since October. (Source: Rita Pratte) Volunteers from a mold removal service have been in South Carolina since October. (Source: Rita Pratte)

The St. Bernard Project is partnering with the United Way of the Midlands to teach flood victims how to complete mold remediation in their homes, potentially saving them thousands of dollars.

The group has been helping Midlands homeowners repair their homes since arriving here just after the flood in October. They say the majority of the homes they see are battling mold and moisture in the crawlspace.

RELATED: See flooding photos from across South Carolina.

"Once you can tackle those sources and you know where the mold's coming from, and again there's very common reasons why it's happening across many homeowners in South Carolina, we can let people really localize where it's coming from. You can demo that out, spend a day scrubbing and spraying a chemical and it's good to go," South Carolina project coordinator Michela Schildts said.

St. Bernard's staff, which has repaired thousands of flooded out homes in places like New Orleans, New Jersey, and now here in Columbia, will walk you through the three-step process that includes demolition, scrubbing and treating your homes beams and finally removing the moisture with dehumidifiers or fans.

"What we've been hearing from our homeowners is that they feel a lot more comfortable with the materials and comfortable with the process, because it's not hard. You just need to hear it a couple of times," Schildts said.

Schildts says while mold can seem overwhelming, remediation really can be DIY. All it takes is some help and few days.

During St. Bernard’s training sessions, they go over a long list of supplies including respirators, Tyvek Suits, goggles, dust pans, ducts tape, Mold Control, P100 filters, dish soap, hammers, utility blades, spray bottles, leather work gloves, antibacterial wipes, demo hand tools, wire brushes, shop towels, wire cutters, trash bags, brooms, staplers, ladders and a HEPA vacuum.

The training walks participants through steps including:

  1. Locate the source of water/moisture. Inspect exterior of house for cracks and penetrations that may be allowing water infiltration. The source must be addressed before mold remediation work begins, to ensure that mold does not have the opportunity to grow again.
  2. Use 6mm plastic to contain the area of mold remediation. Use duct tape or staples to attach sheeting. Tape plastic sheeting around any supply and return vents.
  3. All volunteers must be wearing respirators before entering the house during this stage. Clean out respirators with antibacterial wipes (and let dry) before using. Respirators must be worn for at least 24 hours after wire brushing when in the house.
  4. Remove nails and staples from the face of every top plate, base plate, stud, and ceiling/floor joists. Drive any protruding nails into wooden subfloor.
  5. All exposed surfaces of the framing need to be scrubbed with a wire brush. Brush up and down, side to side, circularly and diagonally.
  6. If you have access to a HEPA (High-Efficiency Particulate Arresting) vacuum: Vacuum all exposed surfaces 3 times to minimize the spread of live and dead mold spores.
  7. Dispose of mold-contaminated items in sealed, doubled 6mm trash bags, twisted, folded over and taped shut at the top.
  8. Framing must be dried out thoroughly before reconstruction, to minimize the possibility of future mold growth. A common requirement is for framing to test below 17% moisture. Requirements may vary by city and state. The dry out process can be done using a combination of dehumidifiers, air blowers, and heating equipment.

St. Bernard Project says it plans to hold at least one training a month through the end of the year. The next is planned for this Friday, May 20. The next will be held on June 17 and July 22.

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