Home' Inclean : INCLEAN May-Jun 2015 Contents 40 INCLEAN May/June 2015
CARPET & RESTORATION
Mid-March saw another one of CPK Training’s successful restoration
courses undertaken, this time at Carpet Care Services’ Lane Cove
(Sydney) training facility. Those attending the Institute of Inspection
Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC) Water Restoration
Technician course came from the greater Sydney area as well as the ACT.
Under course instructor Duncan Bennett, students learnt the special
skills required to confidently and cost effectively restore wet carpet,
contents and associated building surfaces to pre-loss condition. They
also learnt how to dry down to IICRC Standard S500.
“In this CPK WRT course we teach technicians how to acquire the
skills to use the specialty tools available to water restorers to maximise
the initial extraction, and efficiently dry porous materials to a dry
standard,” explained Bennett.
“They also learn to identify the different categories and classes of
water damage in order to determine which materials can be safely
restored and when to recommend their removal. We teach the use
of water meters and sensors to monitor a dry down, to locate hidden
moisture in buildings and contents, as well as establish a drying target.
By Patrick Moffett*
Yes, the title of this article is designed to catch your
interest. Exposure to sewage is close to being the
number one health hazard throughout the world.
In India alone, an estimated 1.2 million individuals,
known as scavengers, are involved in the sanitation
cleanup of their surroundings. The working conditions
of India’s sanitation workers remains virtually
unchanged for over a century, where exposure to sewage can result in
disease affecting almost every part of their body.
Health hazards include exposure to harmful gases such as methane
and hydrogen sulfide; cardiovascular degeneration; musculoskeletal
disorders like osteoarthritic changes and intervertebral disc
herniation; infections like hepatitis, leptospirosis and helicobacter;
skin problems; respiratory system problems and altered pulmonary
In looking at today’s practice of managing sewage at treatment
plants, workers are provided with the best of training and worker
protection, yet the Health and Safety Executive in the UK states,
“each year, some [sewage treatment plant] workers will suffer from at
least one episode of work-related illness”.
What is sewage? It is the waste byproduct of warm blooded animals
including humans. We can’t get away from it because it follows us no
matter where we go. Wherever we decide to put it that site becomes
contaminated by our excrement. To avoid gross contamination,
human waste must be properly disposed, typically in a toilet that
flushes waste to a collection site, often called a sanitary sewer
treatment plant or into a septic tank. I don’t know why they call it a
sanitary sewer since there is nothing sanitary about sewage.
Raw sewage waste contains about 90 to 95 percent water that
comes from urine, sinks, showers and dishwasher water, and human
excrement (faeces), which is the other five percent, from baby poop
rinsed out of diapers to an individual who completes his or her daily
constitution. So, if your house experiences a backup, one would
expect your sewage waste to be of a more ‘friendlier’ variety of
effluent than that coming from a city mainline sewer system backup.
Mainline sewer system waste includes your excrement along with that
of your neighbours and their neighbours; it also contains commercial
and some industrial waste including oils, grease and chemicals; medical
and dental blood component waste, mortuary and restaurant waste,
and illegal waste including solvents and drugs, such as over-the-counter
medication, prescription to methamphetamine (meth).
Who cleans up the stuff? In my house it is me. I put on rubber or
latex gloves, I make sure that I don’t get any of it splashed on my skin
and clothing, and with a sponge mop, I go to work cleaning up our tiled
floor. But in larger cleanup situations, where effluents finds its way onto
walls and flooring, and it is coming out of ceilings from an upper floor,
count me out to handle this. I’ll call a plumber and professional water
damage restoration company that are certified in sewage cleanup.
Yes, there are specialty companies that clean up flooded buildings
and sewage contaminated buildings. Are their employees less likely
to be exposed to sewage pathogens (disease causing organisms)?
With proper training and personal protective equipment, they
are expected to be better protected, where they face a less risk of
being exposed to diseases such as: gastroenteritis – characterised by
cramping stomach pains, diarrhea and vomiting; Weil’s disease – a
flu-like illness with persistent and severe headache, transmitted by
rat urine. Damage to liver, kidneys and blood may occur and the
condition can be fatal.
Other diseases include hepatitis characterised by inflammation of
the liver, and jaundice; occupational asthma resulting in attacks of
breathlessness, chest tightness and wheezing, and produced by the
inhalation of living or dead organisms; infection of skin or eyes; and/
or rarely, allergic alveolitis (inflammation of the lung) with fever,
breathlessness, dry cough, and aching muscles and joints.
Once the company completes its work, it is expected to have brought the
building back to its previous clean and sanitary state. To do so, it follows
international standards called the ANSI/IICRC S500. It is the Standard
and Reference Guide for Professional Water Damage Restoration.
*Patrick Moffett is senior environmental/industrial hygienist at Environmental
Management & Engineering, Inc. PatMoffett@att.net
From left: Chas Smith (Carpet Repair Doctor), Fiona Mooney (Carpet
Care Services), Josh Hochkins (Carpet Care Services), Chan Tustieam
(Buzzsolution Carpet Care), Michelle Munroe (Carpet Care Services),
Luke Dixon (Steamatic, ACT), Omar Ayad (Prime Restorations),
Nathaniel Sierra (Revive), Duncan Bennett (CPK instructor), Albert
Caseles (Drymaster) and Jared Elasi (Contents Restoration Services)
CPK’s restoration and carpet cleaning courses prove popular
Sewage... the gift that keeps on giving
Contamination and disease
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