Pro's Corner

Floodwater Restoration Procedure: The Pittsburgh Protocol

This procedure is known as the Pittsburgh protocol. Its use is advised for structures that have been exposed to Category 3 water (mainly rising groundwater floods such as those experienced following recent hurricanes) for extended periods of time.

This procedure meets IICRC guidelines. There are less rigorous procedures for category 3 contamination that can be quickly remediated (a toilet overflow for example).

There is also an alternate procedure known as the Carolina Protocol.


Steps to flood remediation

  1. Remove and dispose of floodwater-saturated carpet, carpet padding, drywall, plaster, insulation, and other highly absorbent building materials.

  2. Rinse mud and visible soil from exposed wooden studding, joists, rafters, sub-floors, metal studs, cement block and masonry walls, and cement floors. or other building materials wetted by floodwater. Use low-pressure (not high-pressure) water for this rinsing. The goal is to move the soil off the surface and avoid driving it into the material. Use of a surfactant/detergent such as Vission or Viper 7 is helpful.

  3. Foam the surfaces with a disinfectant solution. Dilute according to label directions. Examples include Microban Disinfectant Spray Plus; a ready-to-use solution of Germicidal Cleaner Concentrate; Benefect Botanical Disinfectant; Concrobium Broad Spectrum Disinfectant; Sporicidin Disinfectant Solution, and Bactibarrier Cleaner/Disinfectant. Allow it to dwell (10 to 30 minutes). The Foam-It Jr. is very effective for this service.

  4. Follow up by controlled pressure washing with a solution of Germicidal Cleaner Concentrate (2 ounces Germicidal Cleaner Concentrate per gallon of water); Benefect Botanical Decon 30 (ready-to-use); or Bactibarrier Detergent/Disinfectant (2 ounces per gallon of water) to cleanse and remove surface contaminants. Controlled pressure washing with a small pressure washer (1750 PSI @ 1.6 GPM) uses as little as 4 ounces of solution per square foot of surface area.

  5. Use a soft bristle brush to agitate the solution into cracks and crevices of cement floors, and masonry walls.

  6. Clear water rinse floors and walls.

  7. Re-clean floors and walls with a pressure washer.

  8. After wood surfaces drip dry, use an airless paint sprayer to apply SurfaceShield (by ProRestore Products), a highly permeable antifungal protective coating. Similar products are also available from other vendors.

  9. Dry the structure by using dehumidifiers or auxiliary heaters and air movers.



By Scott Warrington. Most of the above information was provided by Legend Brands.


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