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Old 06-17-2009, 06:34 AM   #1
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Desperate- removing HZMAT material


I am 100% desperate and need some help.

Background: Home is supported by pillars and has a dirt crawl space. The main waste pipe broke and flooded the crawl space with sewage. About 1000 gallons. We thought that the sump pump broke, but once the weather heated up, so did the smell. A company came and pumped the sewage out and over sprayed a chemical called "Last Resort". They told us that they do not remove the dirt. We find out now that they do. We have been living in a hotel for 17 days due to this problem. The house smells of the chemical and the dirt still contains sewage. We have been having a terrible time of getting someone to clean this up, due to the "last resort" adding to the problem. All of the material needs to be disposed of differently than if it was just "sewage".

1. How do we do it ourselves? (We are DIY people, so please be specific)
2. Does anyone know why the first company sprayed the chemical if the dirt needed to be removed anyways?

Please help, we can not take 1 more day of idiots giving us the run around.

TIA!

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Old 06-17-2009, 07:03 AM   #2
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Well, I can't help you much apart from telling you that Unsmoke's "Last Resort" is a known product manufactured by a well-known company (Unsmoke) involved in restoration work..."Last Resort" is a highly perfumed alcohol-based product and can linger for a while by overpowering other smells. The alcohol in it kills off bacterial smells, but is still limited in its field of application: hard surfaces, some carpeting etc but not neccessarily for something as large and porous as soil.

Look, you have raw sewage poured onto dirt; sure, the best thing to do is remove it but the company did the next best thing in applying a perfume to it. They can't really 'bleach' out the smell, it would take a few drums of bleach for that...and you don't want to kill off the good bacteria that will do their thing over time.

Since you can't get a skid steer under the house, get a few spades, a lot of buckets, masks and beer and go to it, preferably with the help of many hands.

Because I just don't see any way of chemically treating the soil. Remove the top 6" or so - that'll be most of it. The rest will leach into the soil and be broken down in time by the natural action of soil bacteria. This is the best and worst time of year for that to happen: summer...smells worst but breakdown is fastest.

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Old 06-17-2009, 09:07 AM   #3
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Desperate- removing HZMAT material


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Originally Posted by ccarlisle View Post
Well, I can't help you much apart from telling you that Unsmoke's "Last Resort" is a known product manufactured by a well-known company (Unsmoke) involved in restoration work..."Last Resort" is a highly perfumed alcohol-based product and can linger for a while by overpowering other smells. The alcohol in it kills off bacterial smells, but is still limited in its field of application: hard surfaces, some carpeting etc but not neccessarily for something as large and porous as soil.

Look, you have raw sewage poured onto dirt; sure, the best thing to do is remove it but the company did the next best thing in applying a perfume to it. They can't really 'bleach' out the smell, it would take a few drums of bleach for that...and you don't want to kill off the good bacteria that will do their thing over time.

Since you can't get a skid steer under the house, get a few spades, a lot of buckets, masks and beer and go to it, preferably with the help of many hands.

Because I just don't see any way of chemically treating the soil. Remove the top 6" or so - that'll be most of it. The rest will leach into the soil and be broken down in time by the natural action of soil bacteria. This is the best and worst time of year for that to happen: summer...smells worst but breakdown is fastest.

Thank you for the reply We are concerned since 2 companies have told us that removing the dirt can be tricky since they do not want to cause the foundation of the house to shift.

That Last resort stuff is aweful!!!!! They sprayed it on the dirt, insulation, pillars.....you name it, they sprayed it. I prefer the poo smell to this stuff.

My husband and I are far from handy people, so if someone needs more info please ask....we are getting desperate.
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Old 06-17-2009, 10:07 AM   #4
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Desperate- removing HZMAT material


Shifting foundations? whoa, I hope it doesn't come to that!

Lets see: 1000 gallons of sludge at 8lbs/gallon = 8000 lbs, most of which is water. By now the water has leached into the soil and is in the water table, so let's assume that 20% of the sludge was solids. 1600 lbs then is solid waste that is a smorgasbord for more bacteria and moulds.

A 5-gallon pail weighs about 40lbs full of dirt so you're talking 40 pails of dirt. A 5-gallon pail is also about one cubic foot in volume, so again about 40 cu.ft. There are 27 cubic feel in a cubic yard, so you talking about 1.5 cubic yards of soil.

So you're looking at a 6-inch deep section about 10 feet long by 8 feet wide.

I don't think that'll affect your foundation...just how deep is your foundation?
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Old 06-17-2009, 10:34 AM   #5
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Shifting foundations? whoa, I hope it doesn't come to that!

Lets see: 1000 gallons of sludge at 8lbs/gallon = 8000 lbs, most of which is water. By now the water has leached into the soil and is in the water table, so let's assume that 20% of the sludge was solids. 1600 lbs then is solid waste that is a smorgasbord for more bacteria and moulds.

A 5-gallon pail weighs about 40lbs full of dirt so you're talking 40 pails of dirt. A 5-gallon pail is also about one cubic foot in volume, so again about 40 cu.ft. There are 27 cubic feel in a cubic yard, so you talking about 1.5 cubic yards of soil.

So you're looking at a 6-inch deep section about 10 feet long by 8 feet wide.

I don't think that'll affect your foundation...just how deep is your foundation?

I hope that I ans. this correctly:
6 inches of dirt 20 ft x 40 ft area
11 inches down is water.
we have a sump going most of the time. We live in a coverted beach house about 700 ft from a bay.
How far do those pillars go (concrete things that I think hold my home up, along with concrete around the frame of the home) ?
I do not know...my guess is 1-2 ft.
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Old 06-17-2009, 10:56 AM   #6
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Desperate- removing HZMAT material


From a person who held a State License in Water Treatment for nine years before retirement, let me suggest: Contact your local Evironmental Protection Division. An EPD is the State level Environmental Agency, and they are there to help YOU! At least they are around here, GA. Another agency to contact would be your local State or County Extension Service. These are funded by taxpayer dollars and they do have a lot of information and resources. One of these agencies should be able to help you determine if soil needs to be remediated. One thing that comes to mind in your situation is ventilation. Is there any way to provide forced (fan) ventilation to your crawlspace? The more, the better. I feel that you need to remove that alcohol based product more than the "natural" product. IF this were my problem, and with my training, I would suggest spraying some "Simple Green" product under the house. Simple Green is a bio-degradable product, has a pleasant smell (a little strong), and will actually start to de-grade the "natural" stuff. It's one of the few off-the-shelf items we could use in Industrial clean up the EPA (Federal Agency) would allow. Good Luck, David
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Old 06-17-2009, 12:57 PM   #7
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Desperate- removing HZMAT material


Well, now I'm out of my depth. Up here, and even though we live on an island, most homes have basements dug into the Canadian Shield through tons of clay soil. So this same problem has different solutions up here than what you would expect down where you are.

Of course the question arises, where does your sewage go now?

So I'm with David; your's is now a problem with structural implications and I'd venture to say that a DIY forum is not the place to find your answers. An engineer's office would be a place to better spend the time it took all of us to read, write and answer what is a complicated issue. It also brings up a pet peeve of mine where new members should be told to put their location in the sidebars so that we at least can get a better understanding of the problem, let alone give relevant answers.

Go find professional help.
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Old 06-17-2009, 02:24 PM   #8
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Caveat: I have no special training or experience relevant to your situation

A dirt floored crawl space, even without sewage, allows ground moisture to permeate into the crawl space. Although intended to be removed by adequate crawl space venitlation, this moisture will accelerate the decay of joists, sills and subfloor, as well as promote mold growth. Many crawlspaces are built or retrofitted with 6mil poly (plastic sheeting) applied over the dirt to control this ground moisture and protect the house. After removal of the top layer of affected soil, you may consider installation of this plastic sheeting (taped at the seams and secured as appropriate). This would both protect you from lingering odors / pathogens, and improve the overall comfort and longevity of the structure. Two birds, one stone, they say.

-Rizzo
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Old 06-17-2009, 02:27 PM   #9
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Desperate- removing HZMAT material


Have you only had the sump going since this happened?
Where is the sump outflow going?
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Old 06-17-2009, 04:40 PM   #10
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Desperate- removing HZMAT material


I will try and address all of the questions:

We have tried to get a professional and after 17 days of the run around, we need to get this done

Our Local EPA (Suffolk county in NY) is helpful, but we need people to do the job and this is where we are running into problems.

Our crawl space has dirt, plastic (Not in great condition) and than dirt.

Our sump pump failed when the poo came along, so we are not pumping and it has been raining for days. Today is nice, but it will rain again Th-Tue. Hence lots of new water and more waste water w/chemicals that can not be put into the ground.
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Old 06-19-2009, 01:14 PM   #11
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You have a problem. (Do I get extra points for not adding a descriptive modifyer to "problem"?)

Try http://www.statewidesupply.com/contact.html 800.0553.5573

They have a biological product that may help. I use the bio-bugs on resturant roofs to get rid of the grease.
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Old 06-19-2009, 05:24 PM   #12
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Thank you so much fireguy. I wish that the first resortation company would have used it.

Our problem is just made worse by an adjustor who talks with everyone but us and now a company that has not spoken to us in 4 days now says we are holding things up because we will not sign the EPA clean up document since the water was never tested.

Thank you again Fireguy!
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Old 06-20-2009, 10:36 AM   #13
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let us know what State-Side says when you call them, then if you use the bugs, let us know if they work.
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Old 06-20-2009, 10:57 AM   #14
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I really don't like addressing you as "smellyhouse", maybe you could give us eve a fictitious first name. I trying to get myself into your state-of-mind now, and it's not very pretty. You've had this problem too long now. Here's one other thought-What if you could find in you area a company that cleans out septic tanks. The better one's nowadays have vac-trucks. These are trucks which have a huge vacuum system that creates a vacuum in the tank of the truck to pull in the solution from a septic tank and the solution does not go through a suction pump, as the older ones did. Basically, these newer units are just a giant shop vac on wheels. Now, if you can find one, and they will work with you on this, put water under your home to hopefully help bring up some of that old sewer sludge from the dirt. The sludge company can run hoses under the house, suck up all that water, and even some dirt. This will reduce the amount(s) of contaminated soils and bacteria that are under there. We have used this method to clean up spills both within our plant and outside our plant. Also, if this were me, I would be talking to an attorney as to what my homeowner's insurance may be liable for. Good Luck, David
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Old 06-28-2009, 05:05 PM   #15
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Me again!

Still trying to get this problem solved.

Since we need people to tell us the truth, I am hoping that someone here can help:

1. EPA document signed finally. The water has not been tested. Why is it taking 21 + days to get this project started. The restoration compant says that it is the environmental company that it holding things up. Does it really take this many days to get this started?

2. Our crawl space is now infested with mosquitoes. Which we can be fined for in Suffolk County.
How the hect are they breeding if this water is supposed to be containimated with the "last resort" ?

We are going on 29 days of this run around. We are going to have the water tested since no one seems to know what the heck is going on anymore. Our local EPA has been very helpful but they can only do so much. Our adjustor fired a company that I hired and we are being forced to us one that we are not happy with, so PLEASE any information would be helpful. TIA

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