After the Boulder Flood

A small, reliable sump pump with an internal pressure-activated switch can move more than 2,500 gallons of water per hour. The homemade filter was fashioned from window screen attached to a loop of Romex.

Two upgrades improve wet vac performance: a dump valve, which makes the tank easier to drain ...

Riveting a plastic flap between the vac’s hose inlet and the filter helps keep the filter free from muck during wet cleanup. For dry vacuuming, the flap protects the paper filter from incoming jagged debris.

... and a vac muffler, which reduces volume and mellows out the shrill pitch of a vac, making it much more pleasant to work with in a closed space.

After even shallow flooding, cutting back drywall 48 inches off the floor reduces finish labor.

On walls built against concrete, remove drywall, but leave furring strips in place. After this photo was taken, the beadboard was also removed to aid drying.

HVAC ducts need to be drained and cleaned inside and out. Also note that the window trim is left in place, leaving a 2-inch strip of drywall for taping when patching the joint.

The best way to cut corner bead is to use an angle grinder with a thin cutoff wheel, or an oscillating multi-tool fitted with a metalcutting blade.

Bottom plates and other wet wood framing should be treated and dried thoroughly to prevent mold.

Romex-type wiring can usually be left in place, but conduit should be removed because it can fill with water.

Even when dried out, flooded electrical devices could contain sediment or other fine debris. This receptacle seemed fine but blew up after a few minutes of use.

Air movers or carpet fans create a high-volume stream of air to pull moisture from the surfaces of materials into the air; a dehumidifier condenses moisture from the air into water that can be carried out of the building.

In moderate temperatures, water-soaked materials can easily develop mold before they are able to dry. Mold discovered during cleanup should treated—preferably by a mold remediation specialist— and removed from the building.

The sheer volume of debris quickly filled city-supplied roll-offs, prompting residents to dump debris on the ground nearby, blocking haulers’ access.

Sand and sediment near buildings was assumed to be contaminated with chemicals and sewage, and had to be hauled to landfills rather than re-used as fill.

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