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August 31, 2005 - New Orleans Facing Mold, Sewage, During Clean Up

New Orleans residences face final destruction after being buffetted by floodwaters, lack of power, and debris.  For many houses now facing structural instability and mold, the wrecking ball will deal the final blow.  Both local and federal experts predicted that few of the homes and buildings that have been inundated would be salvageable.

If the structures are not professionally dried out within the next 48 hours, the chances of saving them are slim.

With the water still rising, prompting officials to draw up plans for evacuating the entire city, prospects for making that two-day deadline were bleak.

Peter Carkhuff of Property Damage Experts, a New Jersey company that specializes in assessing salvageability of waterlogged homes, said he had a truck and trailer ready to head to the Gulf Coast. But he knows that because of the water, it could be days or even weeks before his crews will be able to start work. And then it will probably be too late, he said. "Mold will take hold," Carkhuff said. "And a lot of these homes are going to have to be leveled." He said the situation was worsened by the fact that New Orleans was being flooded by "black water," which carries sewage, sludge and bacteria.

Food, cosmetics, children's toys and mattresses will have to be thrown out immediately, said Mark Decherd of Dryout Inc., a Florida firm that cleans and rehabilitates flooded structures. At least 150 people have called Dryout from Louisiana and Mississippi to be put on a waiting list, Decherd said. He expects that when his crews get there, all they will be able to save is clothing, bedspreads, linens and in some instances draperies, with a good dry cleaning. The "black water" flooding more than likely trashed carpets, rugs, laminated flooring and cabinetry, he said.

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