Sure, things are replaceable.  Still it’s heartbreaking to come home to find water in a basement or other living area.

North Liberty.  8.28 inches of rain water.  Dubuque.  3.8 inches.  Cedar Rapids.  4.2 inches.  What a mess.

My wife Sarah and I recently discovered the Cedar Rapids NewBo District and have fallen for restaurants like Parlor City Pub and Eatery and Batas.  Both businesses had to temporarily shut down operations due to flooded basements today.  I read a press release from the Cedar Rapids Public Works department earlier this afternoon that read that the city’s sewage system has been on overdrive trying to keep up with processing all of the rainwater that has entered the system over the past 48 hours.  Sadly, businesses are not the only ones being impacted.  The system is working so hard that untreated wastewater has been backing up into homes across the city.

If this happens to you and your family, what are you to do?

  1. Do not walk into the water or start cleaning things up until you are 100% sure power has been turned off.  Standing water and electricity do not mix.  Even if the power is out, you still do not want to walk in the water until Alliant Energy or MidAmerica have had a chance to turn off your power.  Even during a power outage, there’s risk of electrocution as there’s always the chance that power could be restored while you are in the water.
  2. Once electricity has been disconnected, you need to turn off your natural gas.  Flood waters can be powerful and can move gas appliances or break or loosen a gas or fuel line.
  3. Open the windows.  Introducing fresh outside air can help reduce toxic fumes and begin lowering moisture levels.
  4. Now comes the obvious.  Pump out the water.
  5. Now comes the hard part:  the cleanup.  Shovel out mud and debris.  Wash the walls with a garden house to remove silt and dirt.  If sewage has entered the home, you’ll want to disinfect and sanitize the floors and walls.

FEEDBACK:  Is your basement flooded?  Or, is this something that you and your family have experienced before?  I would love to hear your story.  You can share it by leaving a comment below.

(Photo:  Waverly, IA  Don Becker, U.S. Geological Survey)

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