It continues to be a long, hard slog for many Houston homeowners trying to emerge from the mess created by the unprecedented flooding from Hurricane Harvey.
One factor that compounded the woes several months later was rushed restoration work at the outset. To be sure, some of the crews may have been well-intentioned, but they did not perform demolition and rebuilding work with mold abatement in mind. As a result, some Harvey-hit houses now need a professional-grade mold cleanup.
As we’ve explained before, water-damage restoration and mold response work differs from mold remediation because storm-damaged homes are opened up. By contrast, mold remediation is a controlled response in a contained structure.
The floodwaters bring more problems than water damage from an internal or roof leak. Floodwater is contaminated by everything it picks up, such as fuel and, unfortunately, fecal matter from overflowing sewage.
“It’s not just mold spores and mold growth, it’s bacteria and other microorganisms that soaked into flood-saturated houses,” Marc Patel, owner of Green Star Eco Services, said recently while onsite in a neighborhood that was flooded by the discharge of the Barker and Addicks reservoirs into Buffalo Bayou and beyond its banks.
“You can tell from the way these houses are destroyed that it’s not safe to just have a person that doesn’t understand the situation messing around with them,” he added. “From my perspective, being associated with the environmental end of the business, is the knowledge that the water and the type of contaminates that were in these houses was sewage water.”
Confronting this kind of disaster takes more than simply ripping out material and spraying the area with bleach. Bleach, as we’ve previously noted, breaks down into organic matter that mold eats! Trained, licensed mold specialists, such as Green Star Eco Services, know how to limit the spread of mold and how to properly treat affected areas with an antimicrobial cleaning solution that kills mold and bacteria.
“Having someone who is licensed and understands microorganisms and the other nasty things that are associated with this type of flooding, makes sense,” Patel said.
The Lone Star State regulates the businesses of mold assessment and mold remediation. The two are kept separate to maintain the integrity of a mold assessment report. This provides an independent review of a mold remediation project.
“Texas led the way with the licensing for mold remediation,” Patel said. “Texas created a package of licensing to segregate duties between mold assessors and mold remediation companies.”
This delineation prevents a conflict of interest whereas a contractor could theoretically sign off on his own work, as opposed to having an independent assessor conduct tests and give homeowners the results.
Specialized Equipment, Proprietary Cleaning Products and Protocol
“On our end, licensing is a very important thing. A lot of people think with mold remediation and water restoration – mold remediation especially – it’s go in, find the source, spray it, maybe do a little demolition and you’re done. That’s really the easy part. The hard part is following a process to do it properly the first time and not to contaminate things inside the environment that you are working in,” he said. “We follow a very strict process that is mandated by Texas and goes along with our licensing.”
What differentiates Green Star Eco Services from other disaster recovery companies is it keeps a licensed mold remediator onsite to oversee each job with the licensed mold remediation technicians.
“Most companies have one mold remediation contractor licensed and he puts together a plan, and then they send out crews. Well, we keep a mold remediation contractor on every job. We really try to enforce the whole mold remediation licensing and process to do it right the first time,” Patel said.