As the flooding Missouri River slowly returns to its normal level, Iowa property owners are beginning to get a look at their homes and businesses — and the challenges they’ll face in restoring them. Bob Arritt owns an environmental, health and safety consulting firm in Omaha-Council Bluffs. Arritt says some people will be able to save the skeleton of the building and not have to start over.
“If you just get it opened up and dried out as soon as possible, you can sand and treat the stud walls and the frames and so forth, hopefully keep as much of the building as you can,” he says. “It’s just not an automatic decision.” Unfortunately, Arritt says some buildings will be a complete loss and the only option will be to tear them down.
He says it will still be some time before many homeowners and business owners know the extent of water damage. “We haven’t really seen a lot of the assessments because the water hasn’t come down that far and people aren’t ready yet,” he says. “I don’t think the insurance companies, or anybody, has quite assessed it.”
Some homes have sat in floodwater for several months, virtually all summer. Arritt says that doesn’t necessarily mean the property is a total loss. “Not the whole building itself, but some of the porous materials that are in the building, the drywall, carpets and all of that obviously has gotta’ go,” he says. The river has been below flood stage at Sioux City for a few weeks, but it may not be back to “normal” in Omaha-Council Bluffs until October. Arritt’s company, B-2 Environmental, specializes in industrial clean-ups.