Hurricane season is half over for 2021 and New Jersey as well as many parts of the country have experienced flooding from storms. Hurricane Ida hit NJ with heavy rain and flooding. Because of the flooding our office has been inundated with calls regarding concerns of mold from water entry in home's offices and businesses.
People are concerned about black mold and toxic mold and want a professional opinion. First, black mold and toxic mold are made up terms and do not exist. Curren has done more inspections and consulting on these impacted properties then with Super Storm Sandy. We have also given out a lot of fee advice to "talk people out of having mold inspections" performed or being sold a mold remediation they did not need.
The fact is, many people who do mold inspections/remediations rely on fear and general misinformation, as opposed to a rational approach, which looks to see if what happened had the likelihood of causing mold to grow. There is a real fine line here because if you rely on mold to make a living, we find people push remediation when it really isn't warranted.
For Curren we do a lot more than just mold so a mold job here or there doesn't make or break our bottom line. The snap shot of some of our excavation equipment (which isn't used for mold remediation) keeps us busy doing non mold projects.
At Curren what is important is people are treated morally and ethically.
Our deepest sympathies goes out to the people displaced from the flooding, to help others we would like to offer some perspective and help bring down the level of anxiety people have regarding mold.
So people are calling wanting inspections and remediation of mold growth, most of the properties in question fall into two distinct categories, those that have a mold problem from the storm and those that do not. The difference between the two are like Yin and Yang.
Basement got several inches of water from the storm, do I have mold?
So the basement had water entry, you were home and you saw it, clearly you could have a concern about mold, but you likely do not have a mold problem. If the home retained power and you removed the water within 48 hours you likely have no mold growth attributable to the flooding. (you might have mold that grew over the years, which is not uncommon in older homes).
The reason a few inches of water didn't cause mold is that mold needs 48 to 72 hours to start to grow. If you can make the space dry within that time frame, you need not be worried about mold. Removed the water means, you pumped the water out, dried the area and have a dehumidifier operating. If you ran a fan, you only put the moisture into the air and that creates a super moist environment and mold can grow.
Basement was Flooded for days
Basement was flooded and water was measured in inches and feet, property lost power house was wet for over a 3 days or longer owner was not in the house during the flooding. 99% of the time in this scenario you have mold.
Creating a swimming pool in a building elevates the humidity and moisture to the points that surfaces are saturated and the mold that is invisible and always present is provided the ideal conditions for growth and rapid growth at that. Once the mold grows it will likely get worse because it will be hard to dry out the building quickly (you may not have power, a working pump or access to buy vacuums and dehumidifiers since bad weather affects everyone and can make a mad rush to the home improvement store, can anyone say Snowstorm?) You may also have an insurance claim that you want to be seen by an adjuster.
The key take way here is the length of time the space was wet, the shorter the less likely you need mold. If you question the need for mold remediation, use some common sense as follows:
Do you smell musty odors? Musty odors are associated with active mold growth so if you smell it you likely have it somewhere.
Do you see discoloration of organic surfaces? Mold can be white, grey, pink, black, so if you see staining that wasn't present previously well then you likely got some growth.
We have over 20 years experience with environmental consulting including mold.