Water Damage: Mold & Salt Water Inundation



Summarized from Indoor Environments Division (IED) of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, “Mold Remediation in Schools and Commercial Buildings.”


*Taken from FEMA Recovery Division Fact Sheet 9580.100, November 7, 2006


Wet Vacuum • Use when materials are wet • Use where water has accumulated, such as on floors, carpets and hard surfaces • Do not use when sufficient liquid is not present

DampWipe • Wipe or scrub non-porous (hard) surfaces with water and detergent • Follow instructions listed on the product label

High Efficiency Particulate • Final clean-up after thoroughly dry, and contaminated (HEPA) Vacuum materials are removed • Recommended for cleanup of dust outside of the remediation area • Properly seal HEPA filter • Personal protection equipment (PPE) is highly recommended; filter and contents must be disposed of in well-sealed bags

Discard • Building materials and furnishings that cannot be remediated • Seal contents in two bags using 6-mil polyethylene sheeting • Large items may be covered in polyethylene sheeting and sealed with duct tape • Sealing materials must be within containment area to limit further contamination

...areas where mold can flourish, but these activities also prepare the building for reconstruction. Even if the tear-out is performed by a remediation contractor, the work can still be funded as a permanent repair because it will ultimately help restore the building to its pre-disaster function.

Friend or Foe: Knowing the Difference

In the disaster recovery industry, mold is often cast in negative light. That’s understandable, since much effort and expense is employed to eliminate mold and mildew after a flood event. There are thousands of species of mold— it is literally everywhere — indoors and out. It can never be fully eliminated—nor would that be ideal. While an overabundance inside homes, schools and other buildings is cause for concern, it is important to note that mold plays an important role in our environment. Recalling those early science classes, penicillin, one of the most important discoveries of modern medicine, began as a hapless mold spore that drifted into a petri dish of unsuspecting staphylococcus.

The key is to understand when mold presents a threat. While there are currently no established guidelines to indicate what amounts are considered harmful, it is generally accepted that the presence of excessive mold inside a building presents serious health risks and, if left unchecked, adds significantly to repair costs. By appropriately managing these costs and adhering to well-documented guidelines of the FEMA Public Assistance Program, mold contamination after a declared disaster can be remediated and repaired in eligible facilities with FEMA Public Assistance funding.