How to detect and combat the serious effects of water damage after a flood

South Carolina floodingCHARLESTON, S.C. (Oct. 6, 2015) – With the torrential rains associated with Hurricane Joaquin causing catastrophic flooding and dumping more than 20 inches of rain in South Carolina – an amount the state has not seen in at least 1,000 years – home and business owners across the region are now cleaning up. For homes and buildings anywhere affected by flooding, problems can continue long after the flood ends, according to Pure Air Control Services, a professional indoor environmental quality firm based in Clearwater, Fla.

As floodwaters recede, buildings, homes and cars will be left with damp floors, walls and/or ceilings, depending on the extent of their flooding. Pollutants and microorganisms left by floodwaters can cause a number of health risks if they are not treated properly and in a timely manner.

“Receding floodwaters are typically tainted with sewage and other toxins, which can contain a number of harmful microorganisms such as viruses, bacteria, protozoa, molds and other detrimental pollutants,” said Francisco Aguirre, CIAQP, CIEC, CMA, Director of Diagnostics and Building Sciences, a division of Pure Air Control Services. “Mold and bacteria can begin growing within 24 to 48 hours following flood and rainwater damage.”

Even structures that appear unaffected by floodwaters could contain microorganisms that have propagated in small spaces invisible to the naked eye.

“The first thing to look for after your home, business or car has flooded is discoloration in the walls or behind flooring or carpets,” said Aguirre. “This is the primary indicator that microbial remediation is needed. If this discoloration is present in multiple areas, the damage could be 10 to 100 times greater than what’s visible on the surface.”

Environmental concerns associated with this damage include bacteria such as E. coli, Salmonella, Listeria, and fungi Aspergillus, Penicillium, Cladosporium etc. – all of which can be carried through the air in the home.

To determine the presence of harmful pollutants following a flood, residents and property owners should have a professional perform a building health check, such as those performed by Pure Air Control Services. The specialist will conduct an assessment to detect elevated moisture levels, humidity, temperatures and microbial counts.

Another option is purchasing an do-it-yourself indoor environmental – quality test kit, like those available through

“Test kits that are evaluated in a laboratory can help individuals assess flood damage to their home or business, as well as the potential health risks that may be lurking in their walls, flooring, cabinetry or carpets,” said Aguirre. “This is a small price to pay for peace of mind, and a safe and healthy environment.”

About Pure Air Control Services:

Pure Air Control Services, Inc. (Pure Air) is a nationally recognized indoor environmental quality firm that offers a full range of professional solutions. For more than 30 years, Pure Air has provided clients with complete Indoor Environmental Quality (IEQ) solutions. Divisions include Environmental Diagnostics Laboratory (EDLab), Building Health Check, Diagnostics and Building Sciences, and Building Remediation Sciences. For more information, visit