Disaster Advice
Disaster Advice Disaster Advice
Disaster Advice Disaster Advice Disaster Advice
Disaster Advice
Disaster Advice
Disaster recovery and restoration can be veiled in mystery to the many who have not undertaken specific training. This glossary explains technical terms to assist both report writing and the understanding of those technical terms so often misunderstood.


The Disaster Advice Glossary and its contents are the protected copyright of Disaster Advice

Safe Area

As required in contamination mitigation a safe area is a clean and contaminate- free room or outside area for employees to rest eat drink or go to the bathroom. Mitigation Note The safe area cannot be used as a decontamination area for men and equipment.


Safe Use of Sanitising Disinfectants

In sewage contaminated buildings the safe use of disinfectants means the appropriate disinfectant that is used on materials that are not physically affected by the disinfectant and disinfectants that do not cause toxic reactions or harm to building occupants.


Safety and Health Program

All employers who mitigate sewage other pathogens carcinogens and toxins must be in compliance with OSHA requirements. CFR 1910.120


Safety Hazards

Any one of a number of workplace hazards which an employee can be exposed. Safety hazards include physical hazards from slip trip and fall abrasions and puncture burns machinery hazards inhalation adsorption including but not limited to life threatening exposures. See IDLH


Safety Health and an Environmental Indoor Air Quality Plan

A written plan that addresses the on-going needs of a building and its occupants. Often this plan incorporates a Voluntary Protection Program VPP and a Total Quality Management Program TQMP.



A paint condition caused by the downward running or curtaining of a paint film when wet. Education Note The sagging condition is not caused by the paint itself sagging or curtaining is a result of painting over too moist of a surface. Such surfaces can be found in a water damaged building where building materials have not yet properly dried or dehumidified.



Any acceptable method for recovery of materials from a damaging event. Salvaging materials reduces the amount of loss. Education Note If damaged materials cannot be salvaged and restored within a reasonable cost they may be accepted by the insurance company and sold for their salvage value.


Salvage of Contaminated Building Materials and Contents

Salvage of Contaminated Building Materials and Contents means the preferred restorative method by which materials and contents are to be cleaned and sanitized back to their pre-loss and healthy condition.


Sample Archive

Material and environmental samples that are archival and retrievable for future testing.


Sample Size

An amount of water building material or lab sample drawn to represent a large or whole area of contamination.


Sample Variables

Differences among replicated samples. Samples will often vary depending on the amount of contaminates in a given area. See Quantitative Variables



The use of special grain sand and compressed air to strip away finishes and coatings from hard surfaces. See Dry-ice Blasting Water-blasting


Sanitary/Unsanitary Building Survey

A sanitary survey is an assessment of the sanitary or unsanitary building conditions and causes. On-site inspections are completed by health agency officers microbiologists or trained industrial hygienists. Education and Health Note A sanitary or unsanitary building survey is not just a visual survey but includes a microbiological sampling and analysis.


Sanitation Hazards at a Temporary Workplace

The First Basic Steps in Reducing Occupational Exposures OSHA and Safety and Health Note 1 The general contractor/employer shall insure the health and safety of all employees subcontractors and the public. 2 Depending on the size of the loss and sanitation concerns potable drinking water and portable toilets shall be provided and kept contained to the clean are. 3 All drinking water and food handling must be kept at a clean are that is separate from the contaminated are and hot zone. 4 A sanitary decontamination wash down station must be installed with fresh water and the containment must have the ability to catch all contaminated water run-off. See Sewage Remediation Category- 3



Health and Safety Note The process of completely cleaning all harmful pathogenic bacteria and harmful microscopic elements from the surface of building material while leaving the building material with a safe level of resident growth. Sanitization is not an antiseptic and is not disinfection or sterilization. By cleaning porous building materials you may have reduced the bacteria fungi and yeasts in the building but technically you have not disinfected the building of all organism presence. Sanitization is the best possible cleaning method next to removing the contaminated building material. c Sanitization includes applying a sanitizer or a disinfectant solution on a surface only after the surface has been cleaned and rinsed. See Mechanical Agitation Surface Cleaning



A cleaning or disinfecting treatment meant to reduce a contaminate or pollutant to an acceptable level.



A cleaning or disinfecting treatment meant to reduce a contaminate or pollutant to an acceptable level.



A bacterial or fungal organism which derives its nutrients from dead organic material.


Saprophytic Fungi

A group of fungi that derives its nourishment primarily from decaying organic matter. Education Note In water damage remediation saprophytic fungi decompose wood and cellulosic materials including drywall paper.



A level at which a material or air can no longer absorb or hold liquids or a vapour. The condition of an atmosphere when the amount of water vapour present is the maximum amount possible at the existing vapour.


Saturation Point

The point at which a porous material are no longer able to hold and retain moisture or a liquid. Technical Note In wood or lumber saturation point is approximately 25/35%u0025 moisture content. See Bound Water Free Water Moisture Content


Scope Estimating with Costs

One of several methods used to prepare a scope of work and an estimate as to the approximate rough-costs for services. Education Note Rough scope estimating can be calculated based on the total square foot of a damage area room or size of the building such as found in a water damaged building. The price for a particular service such as water extraction is calculated at a certain price times the measurements of the damage area ie. 25 cpsf x 2000 sf equals %u0024500.00. More refined scope estimating with costs are calculated on a preprinted form where the services and preprinted prices are highlighted and the square feet square yards or cubic feet are calculated to come up with the approximate costs. c For precise scope estimating with costs these are scope estimates with costs that are computed using software programs that not only calculate square feet and materials producing a cost estimate but the software produces a scope of work for employees and subcontractors to follow. See Best Bluebook Cost Accounting Xactimate


Scope of Work

For a repair contractor or subcontractor a scope of work is a written list of items on a tick sheet that must be completed. For an adjuster or building owner a scope of work is detailed listing of the services that will be provided which are necessary to remove or repair a building or property damage.


Scope writing

The written script on how a hazard or damage must be abated or how reconstruction must be completed. Education Note In building disasters scope writing is the written emergency scope of work that must be completed by trained personnel to eliminate hazards to the building and to the public. In water damage remediation of flooded buildings scope writing may include a two-phase scope b1 the written scope of work for the containment and removal of flood water and damaged building materials b2 The written scope of work necessary for restoration. The written scope of work usually becomes an intrinsic part of the contract which labor and material are to be estimated. See Best Cost Accounting Xactimate



The removal or purging of unconsolidated matter by hard rubbing cleaning or abrasive action.



The washing of a floor or material through wetting detergent solution and a moderately abrasive pad or brush. The method must take into consideration the appropriate detergent and brushes for the surface involved. Scrubbing requires vigorous agitation of the wetted surface.



A permanent or removable coating material that bonds with the substrate to which it is applied. In painting a sealer or undercoat is applied to permanently protect the substrate while giving the top coats bonding strength to the sealer. Sealers are sometimes used in painting to limit the bleed-through from stains and discolorations imbedded in the substrate. In water damaged building environments sealers are used to hide water marks and stains before finish coats of paints are applied.


Secondary Building Damage/Contamination

Secondary damage which occurs after an initial occurrence. Education Note Flood waters are responsible for primary building material damage. If they are not properly abated secondary damage occurs from saturated and swollen building materials and contents. Health and Safety Note Sewage contamination that is not properly mitigated leaving the effected building materials compromised resulting in impaired health of occupants and further damage to the building. c Building water damages that were not identified or abated early enough to stop fungi growth in wet building materials. See Collateral Building Damage Consequential Building Damage


Secondary Pollutant

A general term applied to more than one pollutant in a building. The secondary pollutant is important to mitigate but it is less of a health concern than the primary pollutant. See Primary Pollutant


Secondary Sampling Strategy

Once the primary sampling strategy has been conducted and completed and if additional investigation is necessary a secondary sampling strategy is authorized sometimes on the same day as the primary sampling strategy. Education Note Depending on the results of the primary sampling strategy testing will be conducted. Laboratory sampling and real-time monitoring of the environment both to the inside and outside areas of the building are completed. See Environmental Audit Environmental Assessment Phase-II Primary Sampling Strategy


Sediment as Fines

In a flooded building either from a catastrophic flood or a sewer system backflow sediment is the fines of soil sand and clay that could not be removed and are now an intrinsic part of the building after a thorough clean-up and sanitization. Most sediment can be removed from buildings but due to the building porosity design and engineering some sediment as fines cannot be removed from subfloors sill plates and other building materials without dismantling the structure. Sediment may also be found under the building in crawl spaces and in basements. See Clean-up Fines


Self-Levelling Compounds

A cementitious dry powder compound that is mixed with water. It is poured directly over a floor to level out the floor once the material drys and cures. Education Note Self-leveling compounds are used as a self-leveling underlayment and they are not meant to be the primary floor. Self-leveling compounds are sometimes used as fillers and corrective measures to floors that already have problems. There may be times where the patch repair or float of the self-leveling compound has to be removed to properly repair a wood subfloor.



A process by which the immune system response is stimulated on its first being exposed to an antigen. Health Note The consequence is the body immune system is preparing itself for a stronger response upon re-exposure to the same antigen as in a hypersensitivity reaction. See Allergens Allergies Hypersensitivity pneumonitis


Sensory Perception

A persons internal natural ability through the use their senses to determine or perceive if an environment or building is OK or healthy or not. Many sick building complaints are reported to building owners managers and engineers based on an occupants sensory perception of how the building smells or feels to them. See Heightened Awareness


Sentimental Value

A value of an item having family or historical significance but it may not have intrinsic monetary or replacement cost value. Education Note Sentimental items may be damaged but the owner may still want it repaired even though the costs far exceed its worth value.



A wound or cut which through contamination such as sewage bacteria a consequence causing infection. Health and Safety Note Infection results in redness and pus which in part are dead skin cells. Sepsis is caused by bacterial toxins that are multiplying in the blood system in large numbers. Septicemia is a condition commonly referred to as blood poisoning. See Septic Shock


Septic Shock

Health and Safety Note A bacterially infected wound such as streptococci or staphylococci resulting in or indicating sepsis or septicemia which septic shock may result due to a extreme exposures to airborne and blood toxins because of the high multiplication of cell and tissue damage. Mitigation Note Sewage remediation technicians must carefully evaluate themselves for cuts and wounds before during and after cleanup. c Septic shock can result in damage to cells the kidneys heart and lungs and death. Septic shock may have been responsible for one sewage related death from inhalation in San Diego as reported in the press.


Serious Violation

A violation issued by OSHA to a contractor building owner or a responsible party who knowingly or willfully compromises the health of the employees of the contractor or employees of the building. OSHA Note Serious violation includes unhealthy work environments that place the employee health at serious risk especially when a contractor or building owner has been previously notified of the known or potentially hazardous condition. Depending on the violation and degree of the violation serious violations can start from %u00245000 to 25000 per day per violation. c Serious violations may result in the immediate closure of a work site or building.


Settlement Conditions

In insurance terminology settlement conditions are those written conditions as covered under the policy or excluded under the policy.


Settlement Conditions having an Insurable Interest and Limit of Insurance

Insurable interest includes one or more persons so named under a policy and other persons who may have an insurable interest in the covered property to which the insurer pays the smallest amount and an amount equal to the insureds interest or the applicable limit of insurance.



In a sewer system human waste and organic matter that is in the process of being sent to a treatment facility tank or leaching field. Health and Safety Note In water damage remediation sewage in and under buildings is typically from main-line backflows. Main-line sewer backflows in buildings must be professionally mitigated cleaned up and sanitized. Most often remediation includes the careful removal and disposal of all porous drywall carpet and insulation followed by cleaning and sanitizing of interior wall cavities. See Bacteria IICRC Leachate Raw Sewage Sewage Mitigation Health and Safety


Sewage Fungus

A thick growth of fungi that develops on stagnant water contaminated with sewage effluents. The filamentous fungus host material is composed predominately of the bacterium Sphaerotilus natans.


Sewage Remediation Category 1 Clean Water

Consisting of clean water from a toilet tank overflow or a fresh water supply line that breaks. Treat as a fresh water cleanup. Remember that bacteria most likely exists around the toilet area. All bathrooms must be sanitized after clean-up and thorough rinsing. Clean water contamination can go to a grey water Category 2 contamination if allowed to stand.


Sewage Remediation Category 2 Grey Water

Consisting of grey water or unsanitary water. Category 2 is water from a toilet bowl dishwasher aquariums waterbeds. Gray water contamination may go to a Category 3 contamination if allowed to stand.


Sewage Remediation Category 3 Black water

Consisting of urine faeces pathogens and other organic matter. Category 3 black-water contamination always contains pathogens. Category 3 contaminations are grossly unsanitary. Mitigation Note Black-water sewage saturated porous building materials must be removed and replaced. Bag and dispose of carpet and pad. Clean and sanitize wall cavities and sill plates. Completely dry the structure before reinstallation of new materials. Do not use air movers during the cleanup process. Swab test for residual pathogens before installing new building materials. Health and Safety Note Consult an industrial hygienist or microbiologist if you have cleanup questions%u0021 Suggest to the building occupants they must consult with their medical specialist if they have health problems or questions%u0021


Sewage Remediation Health and Safety

All emergency response employees must not become exposed to sewage pathogens. Employees must be managed by a qualified and trained supervisor. Supervisors are responsible for employee exposure to biohazardous substances health and safety hazards. See Occupational Exposures Site Health and Safety Supervisor Sanitation Hazards at a Temporary Workplace


Sewage Remediation Standards

Sewage mitigation remediation standards are those standards set forth by industry to provide for the safe removal of pathogenic disease and effluents that are associated with sewage. Contractor Note The water damage industry has incorporated information from CDC USEPA and scientists to make written standards for the safe handling containment and disposal of sewage and contaminated building materials. See IICRC Sewage Remediation Training Suggested Guidelines for Remediation of Damage from Sewage Backflow into Buildings


Sewage Remediation Training

An acceptable level of training by industry to technicians in teaching them how industry says a standard sewage gray water or black water claim should be mitigated.


Sewage Remediation Training Course

A training course taught to technicians over a one or two day period. Teaching Note Currently IICRC has incorporated training in sewage in their regular water damage courses. EME and the author of this dictionary teach a one and two day sewage remediation course specifically on gray water and black water sewage and river flooding which brings with it disease causing bacteria.


Sewage Saturated Drywall and Insulation

Sewage Saturated Drywall and Insulation means porous building materials which are least likely to be returned back to pre-loss condition. Surface cleaning and drying alone of highly porous materials such as drywall will not mitigate the bacteria and resulting fungi from inside the wall cavity.


Sewage Terms

Removal of Contaminated Building Materials means the careful detachment proper handling and disposal of porous sewage saturated building materials such as drywall insulation and carpet.


Sewage waste

Waste Sewage waste can be a regulated waste but sewage is not classified as a chemical hazardous waste as defined by CERCLA. Sewage waste includes any solid and liquid human and animal waste that contains pathogens and other disease causing microorganisms including hepatitis-A. In and under contaminated buildings from sewer discharge resulting in a backflow sewage waste disposal requires the mitigator to comply with regulatory requirements including but not limited to - sewage related waste that potentially can enter a street or storm drain. A violation of this regulation can result in a %u002425000.00 fine plus cleanup costs as well as other legal action which can be brought against the mitigator as a company or individual. Heath and Safety Note Porous building materials and contents which cannot be properly cleaned and sanitized after a sewage backflow are considered to be unregulated waste even though they are a hazardous substance by definition. Materials which are sewage contaminated and cannot be sanitized are to be properly disposed in a landfill. Leaving sewage pathogens behind in a building which can result in building occupants to become ill is a violation of health and safety codes and building codes.


Sheer Wall or Sheer Panel

A secondary support wall material attached to building framing usually made of 4%u0027 x 8%u0027 sheets of plywood that complies with local building codes. Construction Note Shear wall materials are designed and engineered to reduce the shear-stress on a building due in part to load factors usually from the second and third floor weight loads effecting a wood frame building. In California shear walls are being added in new construction for increased stress due to earthquakes. Mitigation Note In water damage mitigation sheer walls increase the need for additional problem investigation and problem solving when shear walls are present. Shear walls trap in the standing water and moisture vapor not allowing the excess increased vapor pressure to escape within a reasonable period of time before fungi starts to grow. Wet shear walls cavities will not easily divulge that the interior wall cavities are wet and damp since the face of the drywall may actually indicate is dry. Wet shear wall wall cavities will not dry out on their own before mold starts to grow. After removal of the base coving drill weep holes and aeration holes in drywall and through the shear wall into the wall cavity. Force in dehumidified air into the wall cavity and monitor the wall cavity drydown.



A Registered proprietary name for drywall. See Drywall Gypsum board



A solvent-based finish coating usually found on furniture and some hardwood floors. Education Note Shellac finishes are affected by moisture the moisture causes shellac to release from the surface of wood resulting in peeling. In theory the trapped moisture as vapor pressure and temperature is pushing up and out from inside wet wood causing the shellac finish to release from the wood surface. When shellac finish peels off because of a water damage it can come off as large squares or even sheets. This is different than shellac that fractals. Fracteling occurs when moisture was present some time ago usually years ago and the resin coatings released from its wood surface but it may not have been apparent at that time. As the wood drys and the resins shrink the resins of shellac break apart into irregular shapes. Depending on how many coats of shellac that were applied the fractling may be present under the top finish.



This is the genus name of a bacterium associated with dysentery. Health Note Shigella bacteria can be transmitted from sewage contaminated food water beverage and hand to mouth contact. See Coliforms Gram-Negative Bacteria Personal Hygiene Sepsis



A tapered thin piece of wood that is specifically designed to assist in the leveling or alignment of one surface to another. Mitigation Note In water damage mitigation shims under cabinets and door frames are known to swell and break. Shims need to be checked and if damaged they need to be replaced and the counter or door is to be releveled or realigned.


Shrink Wrap

The generic name plastic wrap process used by Global Wrap.



The loss of size and shape due to decreased moisture. Education Note Shrinkage commonly occurs with natural materials including wood wool rugs drapes skirts on upholstery and jute backed-carpets or upholstery. Shrinkage in water damages or from over-wetting from cleaning occurs when materials are allowed to absorb water and as they dried the material shrank in size resulting in the decreased dimensions of the material. Restoration Note In the case of draperies that are wet at the bottom from a flood consider calling your local drapery company they may advise you to lightly spray water on all of the drape panel front and back reducing the chance of permanent water marks. Carefully fold the top of the drape first and fold the drape into itself. Do not remove drapery pins before you marked the location and position of the pins with a permanent ink marker. If you have never done this before call the drapery company to immediately send out a service truck to mark and pick up the drapes.



In insurance terms the process of plastic wrap sealing off a building or a content. Shrink wrap can protect a building which has lost its roof an environment that must be separated from a contaminated environment or protecting a material from exposure.


Sick Building Syndrome SBS

A description of situations in which building occupants experience acute or chronic health concerns from building related contaminates besides other concerns such as discomfort from thermal comfort effects. Health and Mitigation Note The acute and chronic health complaints may be localized to a particular room or zone or the complaints may have spread throughout the whole building. Most occupant illness and irritation from sick buildings are associated with the ventilation system. See Building Related Illness Building Sickness from Flooding



A trademarked name by Cosentino Company. A finished counter top product mixed with 93%u0025 quartz color pigments and resins that are compressed simultaneously under vacuum. Silestone counter tops are called an engineered stone that has scratch stain heat mold and burn resistance. For more information contact 800/291-1311 or www. silestoneusa.com. See Corian



The horizontal ledge-like portion of a window casing.



A building or a property defined by its physical condition and characteristics. A site could be an entire property or facility or it may represent only apart or portion of the building or facility as defined by the contaminates or pollutants associated with the site.


Site Assessment

A characterization of a site through an evaluation of its physical components associated risks and exposures. A site assessment is a determination if a release occurred the levels of detectable hazardous contaminates and the likely physical distribution of the hazardous or potentially hazardous agents irritants or pollutants.


Site Conceptual Model

The integrated representation of the physical and environmental context the complete and the potentially complete exposure pathways and the potential fate and transport of chemical toxins and biological components. Mitigation Note The site conceptual model should include both the current understanding of the site and the understanding of the potential future conditions and uses for the site. The site conceptual model provides a method to conduct the exposure pathway evaluation and to inventory the exposure pathways.


Site Conditions

A general condition and description of the sites chemical physical and biological components and characteristics that relate to potential exposures to human receptors or building receptors.


Site Health and Safety Supervisor SSS

An employer or supervisor who authorizes and allows employees to enter and work in a confined space unsafe work area or a contaminated environment. Employees must be properly trained supervised and have the appropriate PPE protection. See Occupational Exposures Sanitation Hazards at a Temporary Workplace


Site Safety and Health Supervisor SSS or Official SSO

The individual assigned designated or most responsible for the safety and health of employees at a work site. The individual located on a hazardous site who is responsible to the employer and has the authority and knowledge necessary to implement the site-specific safety and health plan SSSHP and verify compliance with applicable safety and health requirements.


Site-Specific Activities

Any and all information that can be gained or retrieved from fact finding of the history of the site and any other information and data that may pertain or is unique to the site.


Site-Specific Health and Safety Training

The unique training and knowledge about a safety or hazardous work site which is to be presented by the SSS or SSO before allowing worker entry into the site.


Site-Specific Safety and Health Plan SSSHP

The remediation plan that is unique to the work site and to no other site. The SSSHP is a living document acquired from a master company plan. The SSSHP is filled in at the work site by the supervisor SSS prior to entering a safety or hazardous work site.


Site-Specific Target Levels SSTL

Risk-based values for chemical toxins and biological agents of concern that are protective of human health for specific exposures and exposure pathways which are developed for a particular site.



a hand completed ink or pencil line drawing of a building or space. A Trademark name by Xactware for their Xactimate estimating program. The manufacturer reports Sketch is a powerful and accurate CAD drawing and dimension program for completing insurance damage estimates. See Xactimate



The lower perimeter material of an upholstered couch or that which covers the legs and base materials of furniture. In modular or temporary buildings skirting is the lower part that closes off and protects the underside. Skirting is designed in such a manner as to blend in to the exterior wall appearance which can easily be removed for either access or repair of the substructure or when moving the modular building. c Skirting in the UK is any base material such as vinyl or wood that is used around the perimeter of a room.


Slab-on Grade

A structure where the first floor design lies directly on a poured concrete slab that bears directly on the flat surface of ground.


Slip Sheet

An underlayment placed between a subfloor and a finished floor. An underlayment usually consisting of plastic sheeting or asphalt paper that serves and acts as a moisture barrier or spacer between a subfloor and a finished floor such as hardwood or ceramic tile. Slip sheets protect against excessive moisture from entering into the finished floor goods such as hardwood or laminate flooring causing them damage and act as a underlayment for ceramic tile to marble flooring reducing the chance of floor cracking as the building settles or moves. For natural stone floors including marble limestone and granite the slip sheet also acts as a moisture barrier reducing discolouration of the surface of the flooring due to excess moisture transpiration.


Slip Trip and Fall Protection

The appropriate engineering controls and clean-up necessary to remove slip trip and fall hazards. 29 CFR 1910.23a4


Slope At Grade

Typically a hillside slope that results in the rear part of the building to be below grade and the rest of the building to be at grade.


Smear Tab Sampling

Smear tabs are low-ash acid-hardened paper designed for collecting samples on surfaces where dust and chemicals have settled from the atmosphere. See Adsorbent Sampling Bulk Material Sampling Surface Sampling Tape Lift Sampling Wipe Sampling


Soft Film

A paint condition where the paint film has not dried or cured. A soft film condition can occur from high humidity in a building or outside atmosphere.


Soft Materials

Soft materials are a reference to contents and furniture made of fabric synthetic fibres fur and leather.



The surface layer of the earth. Soil has many uses including the placement of buildings on soil. Building soil must be compacted earth that will support the foundation of a building. Not all soil is acceptable for foundation use. Some soil has to be removed and replaced with construction grade soil engineered and compacted. Once the soil has been compacted arranged and engineered in such a fashion to support a structure the prepared soil now becomes the attached ground of the foundation building. See Attached Ground


Soil Aeration

Soil Air means the below-ground air that is trapped or available in the spaces between soil particles. Engineering Note Decomposition of organic matter in the soil can cause high concentrations of carbon dioxide in soil air. Carbon dioxide combines with water vapor to form carbonic acid thereby increasing the acidity of the ground. Soil air is often a result of anaerobic and aerobic conditions in the soil and can vary depending on weather atmospheric conditions ground pressure soil type water/moisture and other influences. See Soil-Gas


Soil Air

In a water damaged substructure of a building the turning of wet/damp ground of the substructure by shoveling or raking allowing air to enter wet cell cavities of the soil.


Soil Flushing/Scrubbing

In a water damaged substructure of a building flushing or debriding of wastes from the top of contaminated layer can often be completed through low pressure 60 to 150 psi pressure washing while using fresh water and detergents. Mitigation Note Water scrubbing of contaminated ground takes place through stripping the top of the ground of contaminates through water pressure. The pressure of the fresh water should only be sufficient to wash down or out effluents and other organic waste. In a substructure the water pressure should not produce a spray where debris can collect in the subflooring or floor joists or is allowed to create a mist. See Leachate


Soil Mitigation

The process by which contaminated soil is either removed or treated. In a black water sewage flood damaged substructure of a building where the sewage has come in contact with the soil or ground soil remediation is the removal of sewage solids effluents and waste water from the contaminated soil under buildings then either treating the soil through aeration and detergents followed by capillary drying and/or the removal of the top layer of sewage saturated soil.


Soil Peculation

The ability of soil to adsorb water. One-inch of water over a given area typically produces one-foot of wet soil. Two-inches of water over a given area produces two-feet of wet soil etc.


Soil Profile

A core sample of soil inspected to evaluate its consistency and when necessary the depth of contamination. Soil profile considers soil type composition moisture content and compaction.


Soil sampling

The removal and containment of specific loose or compacted soil for laboratory analysis. Soil sampling analysis can determine the total or specific hydrocarbons total bacteria and fungi total coliforms moisture content aerobic and aerobic growth or composition of the soil matrix. See Air Sampling Adsorbent Sampling Bulk Material Sampling Surface Sampling Swab Sampling Tape Lift Sampling Water Sampling Wipe Sampling Vacuum Sampling


Soil Stability

As it relates to a substructure of a building soil stability is the engineered and compacted ground under adjacent and around a foundation or structural support. Depending on soil type composition and moisture content contaminated ground may cause structural damage to foundation and support pads.


Soil-Gas Methan CH4 and Hydrogen Sulfied H2S

Two gases that are the most common soil-type gases. H2S is also a common sewer-like gas commonly identified in confined spaces including under buildings which have experienced sewage contamination and organic waste. See Soil Air


Source Area

The source area is defined as the location having the highest source of contamination and concentration or the location area releasing the highest levels of a contaminate and concentration.


Source Containment

In water damage mitigation source containment are the appropriate steps necessary using industry a standards of care to contain control and remove a contaminate. Refer to IICRC S 500-94 and S500-99. In mold mitigation source containment is one of several steps necessary to appropriately contain control and remove mold without causing harm to workers while avoiding broadcast of the mold spores and toxins from a mold contaminated material into air. See Bioaerosols - Assessment and Control


Source Contamination

In water damage and/or mold in a building source contamination is that contamination such as fresh grey and black water and/or mold in building materials which present itself as a contamination.


Source Location

The visual inspection or forensic detection necessary to determine the exact location of the source of a contaminate.


Source Reduction

A lowering of the amount of contaminates pollutants and hazards by containing removing or lessening the source. Once source reduction has been completed a reduction in the amount of environmental protection and personal employee protection previously required may be possible. Health and Safety Note Reducing the level of protection at the site or source must not be taken lightly or automatically since monitoring of the site or further investigation may indicate a secondary pollutant source is present. See Mycotoxin Abatement Primary Pollutant Secondary Pollutant Stachybotrys Mitigation


Source Release Assessment and Monitoring

Contaminates and agents that are potentially toxic explosive flammable pathogenic or carcinogenic which must be assessed by monitoring back to their source. Mitigation Note A source release assessment and monitoring program must include the types and amount of contamination what are acceptable engineering controls what needs to be done next and how to best complete the containment control and removal along with methods for proper disposal. See Risk Assessment



A condition of concrete and paint where the surface material has chipped and has resulted in fragmentation or separation of a surface or coating.


Special Flood Hazard Area SFH

Portion of the floodplain subject to the 100-year flood known as the A-Zone. In costal regions this area is subject to velocity wave action of less than of less than three feet.



The distinction between two or more species of organisms having the same genus. Some genus such as Legionella and Escherichia bacteria and Aspergillus fungi to name a few once identified must be speciated to determine what members of species are present since different species may pose increased health exposure or health threat concerns.


Specific Humidity

A more absolute measurement than relative humidity. Specific humidity is a direct ration of the weight of water vapor to the total weight of the air in a given area or sample. The pound weight of water that a pound of air can absorb. Restorative Drying Note Along with psychometric charting and moisture monitoring the GPP of moisture is another important tool to know to dry out and dehumidify a wet building properly. But do not loose focus on the relative humidity measurements since the relative humidity indicates how close the ambient air is close to being saturated. It is a better measurement to help the restoration technician. Knowing the specific humidity alone will not provide the degree or percentage of saturation. See Grains of Moisture Relative Humidity


Spore Case

A spore receptacle or pod containing tens of thousands and sometimes millions of new spores. Sporulation from the spore case occurs each time the reproductive body is fully developed and mature. c With fungi reproductive sporulation of the spore case typically occurs every 5 to 10 days depending on various environmental and growth factors. d The spore case or sporangium is typically the size of a pin head.


Spore Settlement

The settlement of mold spores from air to surfaces.



A reproductive usually single-cell body which becomes free and are capable of growing into new organisms. To see spores by the naked eye from several feet away we need to see a group of about a million spores together.



means to convert into a spore form grow and release from mature spores the reproduction and dividing by growth of mature spores into new organisms.


Square Foot

A unit of measure that calculates two equal sides of a 12%u0022 x 12%u0022 square. See Cubic Foot


Square Yard

A unit of measure that calculates two equal sides of a 3%u0027 x 3%u0027 square.


Stachybotrys Mould

One genus of slime molds that are responsible for mycotoxin and satratoxin production resulting in impaired compromised and acute health effects of persons who come in contact with or breathe in fungi-toxins. The species having building wetness and human contact concern is Stachybotrys chartarum previously known as Stachybotrys arta. See Mycotoxins


Stachybotrys Mould Mitigation

Education Note Stachybotrys is almost never found in recently wet or damp buildings 1 to 14 days but buildings or ventilation systems which are allowed to stay wet or damp for longer periods. Health and Safety Note Employees who pull out damp and saturated building materials that have black mold on them must do so with training and proper PPE. OSHA Note c Employers who do not provide employees with proper training and PPE are in violation of OSHA. Contractors who do not provide for proper containment are in violation of OSHA health and safety codes. d Release of toxic spores into a building can be a violation of local health and safety and building codes. See Mold Mitigation Mycotoxin Abatement Personal Protective Equipment Serious Violation


Stain Resistance

The measurement of a fabrics ability to resist stains soil and wear. Some fabrics resist stains better than others. Stain protectors may have been added to the yarn or finished goods at the time of manufacturing allowing for better protection. Education Note The more common carpet and upholstery stain protectors are Scotchgard 3M and StainMaster Dupont.



The individuals associations corporations or other entities that directly affect or are directly affected by a corrective action or the need for a corrective action. Litigation Note Stakeholders include but are not limited to building and land owners buyers and renters Lessor and lessee developers and lenders insurers and insureds contractors and subcontractors material suppliers engineers and architects association groups and their membership.



As used in ASTM a document that has been developed and established within the consensus principles of the Society and that meets the approval requirements of ASTM procedures and regulations.


Standard Air

Air measured at a standard temperature and pressure. The most common values are 70%u00B0F 21.1%u00B0C and 29.92 in. Hg 101.3 P. Also air with density of 0.075 lb/ft3 1.2 kg/m3 is substantially equivalent to dry air at 70%u00B0F and 29.92 in. Hg.


Standard Air Density

The measurement of the density of air or 0.075 lb/ft3 1.2kg/m3 at standard conditions.


Standard Gravity

A standard accepted value for the force of gravity. Standard gravity is equal to the force that produces an acceleration of 32.17 ft/s 9.8 m/s.


Standard Ventilation Conditions

In industrial and general building ventilation conditions standard ventilation conditions are 70%u00B0F 21.2%u00B0C 50%u0025 relative humidity and 29.92 in. Hg 101.3 kP atmospheric pressure.


Statement of Condition

A written statement about a particular condition or event. Health and Safety and Contractor Note A statement of condition may be There are hazards on the job which require control and removal before our company can enter or take control of the job site The condition was unsafe and we had to shore up the structure after the fire c Due to the presence of a hazardous chemical monitoring was necessary as per OSHA standards d The sewage under the building was sufficient enough to call in a vacuum truck for its removal e The building is dehumidified and is dry back to its pre-loss condition f The cleanup of the sewage and bacteria after sanitizing have been completed successfully and there are no longer sewage bacteria concerns on exposed building surfaces and on the previously effected contents.


Static Pressure

In water damage mitigation it is the absence of dynamic dry air pressure. Restorative Drying Note Static pressure results in the continuance of wet building materials receiving additional damage which under some circumstances could have been eliminated. Wet wall cavities with insulation for example are static and often will not dry on their own without some form of dynamic pressured air movement. Health and Safety Note c Leaving wet walls and wall cavities static with high humidity present causes the growth of fungi resulting in secondary building damage and compromised occupant health. See Eddy Current Cyclone Effect Dynamic Pressure Sick Buildings Turbidity Air Currents


Statistically Valid Data

Laboratory data having an amount of certainty which the data can be replicated through statistical models and repeat testing.



Describing an event or process that involves random chance or probability. Education Note In water damage flooding the chance or probability of a building experiencing mold growth if it is not properly deflooded dried-out and dehumidified in the first 72 hours is stochastically higher.


Stock Solution

The standard prepared chemical solutions used by a contractor for most every job.


STOP Principle

An acronym for Sit Think Observe and Plan. The STOP principle is very important in all kinds of work especially during emergency fire/water damage services where potential life-threatening disasters can and do occur.


Storage Facility

A building or structure containing chemicals and materials for short or long-term storage. Mitigation Note In water damage mitigation a storage facility is used to contain and house wet carpets and building contents until the building is cleaned sanitized and restored. Wet materials such as carpets and upholstery are cleaned sanitized dried and stored while other contents such as those made with particle board are cleaned sanitized dried repaired and restored back to their previous condition then stored.


Storm Drain

A network of water gathering troughs and inlets leading to pipes and conduits which are buried underground that drain rain water runoff from city streets to lakes rivers streams and oceans. Environmental Note At no time should any material other than rain water be brought pored or drained at or near a storm drain. Doing so is a serious violation of many environmental laws as well as paying for the clean-up and removal of your substance which is now called a contaminate pollutant and hazardous waste.


Storm Water Runoff

Rain water runoff which gathers in streets storm drains sewers and in fields. Education Note Storm water runoff retains various contaminates which can microbiologically become harmful to buildings and occupants. Health Department Note In an average storm water runoff and resulting flooding into buildings health departments report there can be approximately 20/30%u0025 of coliform bacteria present that are associated with flood waters and runoff. c The health department reports contact with flood water can increase illness and disease. See Coliform Bacteria


Strategic Disaster Management Planning

Planning by building owners and on-site operations management providing and implementing written protocol and acceptable methods for dealing with relatively minor to catastrophic disasters.



In cleaning and restoration stripping is the removal of old floor polishes and finishes using s strong and usually very alkaline detergent and scrubbing procedure. Education Note Stripping is done to small segments of a floor at a time with each segment being thoroughly rinsed before moving to the next segment. Stripping is a very aggressive floor maintenance procedure often required after a fire or water damage especially when there is an exposure to soot or sewage where caustic acids and harmful bacteria effect the floor and the environment.


Structural Drying

In water damage remediation it is the use of mechanical and engineering controls necessary to dry a wet building properly. Restorative Drying Note Structural drying can only be completed properly by trained water damage technicians who have had classroom and hands-on knowledge on how to professionally dry various types of wet buildings and indoor atmospheres. Structural drying requires an amount of science and scientific equipment to dry a wet building properly. In the IICRC S500 the suggested guidelines are to reduce wet indoor humidity below 30-45%u0025 rh as the target humidity soon as possible and keep the ambient temperature below 72%u00B0F. or 22%u00B0C Structural drying may also require post-testing by microbiologists and industrial hygienists assuring the building is not influenced or has not become unhealthy from fungal contamination of the previously wet building materials. See Consequential Building Damage Due Diligence High-rise Damage Secondary Damage Substructural Damage


Structural Respiration

Excluding windows and doors structural respiration is the infiltration of outside air into a building through unplanned air pathways such as through walls ceilings and floors.


Structural Wood

Building members made of wood manufactured and installed to provide structural stability for the life of the building. Education Note Most structural wood that is considered dry has a moisture content MC of 8-12%u0025. However since MC percentages vary from one geographic location to another the remediation technician must determine what are normal background levels of MC when setting drying goals and when drying wet structural wood.



Contractors as licenses sub-trades such as plumbers electricians drywall flooring painters to engineers who are necessary to complete a particular portion of a job. Subcontractors maintain their own professional licenses and insurance. Subcontractors must have published with the general contractor all current licenses and insurance before starting work. The general contractor of record is allowed to charge a reasonable overhead and profit for each subcontractor and any equipment or supplies required and used on the job.



The direct transition from a solid to a vapour without passing to a liquid phase or a vapour to a solid. See Frost



Particles and matter smaller than one micron in size. Submicron is a distance or less than one millionth of a meter. Health and Safety Note Submicron is often used to describe particle diameter size. Submicron particles such as dust dirt spores organic and inorganic substances are easily inhaled in the lungs and bronchi resulting in acute and chronic illness and disease. The only devise accepted by OSHA and used for employee protection against submicron particles is a HEPA rated filter and mask. See HEPA Filtration



The sinking of soil or a land mass. The sinking of ground from around behind or under a building. c Contractor Note In flooded buildings subsidence is the sinking of subfloors from over saturation. c1 Subsidence of a floor is seen in flooded mobile homes where chipboard is used and the glues and adhesives are releasing and the wood chips are swelling. Usually crowning from swelling of the subfloor it occurs when furniture weight is removed and when weight is added the chipboard subfloor subsides. c2 Subsidence is also seen in water saturated plywood subfloors where there is wide placement of the floor joists. c3 Subsidence can also be due to a weak subfloor from a structural defect and it may not be from over saturation with water.


Subsidence in Air

Subsidence in air is the sinking of an air mass in the center of a vortex or surrounding high-pressure. Mitigation Note In water damage mitigation and restorative drying subsidence in air can be felt or seen when air fans are placed at right angles to the walls around a room to increase wall drying through increasing velocity. In a square room the center of the room will experience a subsidence in the air volume pulling down and drawing the center of the rooms air mass to the outside. In large open ceilings and vaulted rooms with an increase of room temperature and decrease of humidity a condition called subsidence inversion may occur.


Subsidence Inversion

A temperature inversion condition brought about with increased room pressure. Restorative Drying Note In water damage mitigation of wet buildings having large open and vaulted ceilings where temperatures increase at higher heights the sinking air in the center of the room compresses the air mass below it resulting in cooler air al lower levels which raises the temperature of the upper levels. When indoor dusts can be seen through outside light the upper inversion conditions at higher heights can be seen at the higher temperature levels. What becomes visually apparent the inverse condition at the increased temperature levels suppresses the vertical motion movement of air contaminates dusts spores gases vapours etc. and thus allow the air contaminates to increase in mass. The inversion condition will continue until temperature and humidity change or the pressures in the air mass changes.


Substantial Damage

Damage that has a repair cost equal to or exceeding 50%u0025 of the market value of the structure either before the improvement is started or if the structure has been damaged and is being restored before the damage.


Substantial Improvement

Any repair reconstruction or improvement of a structure the cost of which equals or exceeds 50 percent of the market value of the structure either before the improvement is started or if the structure has been damaged and is being restored before the damage occurred.


Substructural Drying

In water damage remediation substructure drying is the use of mechanical and engineering controls necessary to dry a wet substructure properly. Mitigation Note Unlike wet above-grade structures wet below-grade substructures are influenced by an increase amount of moisture vapor coming from inside the substructure foundation walls and soil. a1 To dry a wet substructure properly all contents and wet building materials must be removed from a basement or below-grade structure including old carpet cardboard and plastic sheeting. a3 All standing water or sewage must be extracted and appropriately removed. a4 Allow as much fresh air access to the substructure as possible during water/sewage removal. In fact use an exhaust fan forcing contaminated air outside the substructure but not in the building. a5 Depending on the soil matrix and amount of saturation and if there is sewage present detergent washing the soil may be appropriate before attempting surface drying or tilling the soil. If the below grade substructure is large other engineering controls will be necessary to monitor and dry the environment properly. Dehumidification with air movement is most important in drying a wet substructure properly. c Unlike above-grade wet buildings below-grade buildings may take two to three times as long to dry. See High-Rise Drying Structural Drying


Suggested Guidelines for Remediation of Damage from Sewage Backflow into Buildings

A peer reviewed scientific article published in the Journal of Environmental Health October 1994 Berry Michael Ph.D. et. al. which speaks about the importance of removing sewage properly from a sewage contaminated building. Education Note The article points out that sewage contains disease causing microorganisms and if they are allowed to remain the health of the public at large and the occupants are at health risk.


Sulphur Hexafluoride SF6

A physiologically inert gas used as a tracer gas during building investigations.


Supplied Air Respirators

Full-face respirators that are attached to a SCBA or in-line air source. OSHA Note Supplied air respirators are the minimum requirement for worker protection when oxygen deficient atmospheres exist. When atmospheres do not have 19.5%u0025 oxygen or when atmospheres indicate through monitoring the presence of flammable chemicals or gases supply air must be provided. c In reference to sewer gas methane and hydrogen sulphide a canister filtering mask will not remove airborne toxins and gas contaminates. Only SCBA and in-line supplied air can be used in these atmospheres.


Surface Cleaning

Surface Cleaning means methods used by which surfaces are cleaned and decontaminated by. Education Note Surface cleaning includes mechanical agitation to remove dried contaminates and detergents that allow for suspension. Mechanical cleaning with a brush detergent chemicals cleaners followed with rinsing completes surface cleaning. See Clean Clean-up Sanitization


Surface Leaching

A condition found on top of concrete and painted surfaces resulting from the leaching of efflorescence on concrete and paint. Education Note Surface leaching may be corrected on new paint with the use of cleaners and detergents followed by drying. If the surface leaching condition continues the problem is behind the paint in the matrix of concrete and other materials due to moisture vapor pressure and high moisture content.


Surface Sampling

The sampling and removal of a cell spore or matter which when collected is identified in a laboratory. Surface sampling may include swabs tape lifts vacuuming Rodac plate or other acceptable devise for sampling collection. See Air Sampling Adsorbent Sampling Bulk Material Sampling Soil Sampling Swab Sampling Smear Tabs Tape Lift Sampling Water Sampling Wipe Sampling Vacuum Sampling


Surface Sampling Kits

Specially prepared kits to sample for a known contaminate such as PCBs lead mercury nickel cadmium or chromate.


Surface Screening for Coliform Bacteria

Screening for coliform bacteria on surfaces first requires an investigation of the problem based on information supplied to our industrial hygienist or microbiologist by the customer adjuster or contractor then a visual assessment and survey of the problem areas is completed. Only after the visual investigation should bacteria screening be conducted. Swab sampling in this instance is a screening devise only. To be cost effective sampling strategy is very limited in the number of swab samples collected. Representations as to what type of bacteria and activity are or are not present on a given surface is through laboratory microscopic analysis. Since we cannot see bacteria with our eyes the industrial hygienist or microbiologist must use their best judgement knowledge and training in considering their sampling strategy. See Qualitative Surface Screening


Surfactant Surface Acting Agents

Agents which are used to modify or decrease surface tension of water resulting in a reduction of interfacial tension. Surfactant are useful for suspending removing oils and organic contaminates and they provide a cleansing action.


Swab Sampling

A sterile swab in a collection tube used to sample a surface. In the case of evaluation of fungi or bacteria once exposed to the source such as a 2%u0022 x 2%u0022 swab are the swab is placed back in its collection transport tube and closed. Information about the swab is written on the transport tube as well as a log sheet. The swab is then transported to a laboratory for incubation and analysis in a petri dish. Swab sampling is mainly used for culturable samples of cells and spores. Laboratory results may take an average of 2-3 days for bacteria to 7-10 days for fungi and other pathogen identification. See Air Sampling Adsorbent Sampling Bulk Material Sampling Soil Sampling Surface Sampling Tape Lift Sampling Water Sampling Wipe Sampling Vacuum Sampling


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