Companies dealing with water damage had an extremely busy 24 hours as many basements flooded across central Alberta, due to steady rain. (Contributed photo)

Companies dealing with water damage had an extremely busy 24 hours as many basements flooded across central Alberta, due to steady rain. (Contributed photo)

Steady rain causes basement flooding across central Alberta

Local restoration companies have had an extremely busy 24 hours

Calls from homeowners with flooded basements are pouring into local restoration companies from across central Alberta.

After three straight days of rain, with some areas seeing upwards of 60 millimetres, businesses dealing with water damage were inundated with calls for service — not only from Red Deer, but from homeowners from Rocky Mountain House to Gadsby.

“We’re getting quite a few calls from Innisfail and Sylvan Lake — more than from Red Deer right now,” said Darcy Zenkawich, general manager of WINMAR Property Restoration Specialists of Red Deer.

In flood-prone areas, “sump pumps can’t keep up with all of the rain,” added Zenkawich.

The last 24 hours have been particularly busy for his four emergency mitigation crews, who were setting up vacuum hoses and water extraction trucks and pulling up carpeting and other flooring to prevent the growth of mould.

“We were going all day yesterday, right up to last night,” he said.

Like many other local restoration companies, WINMAR, is a “one-stop shop,” with staff that can eventually restore drywall, flooring and baseboards.

Zenkawich said the average mitigation/ restoration job costs from $20,000 to $25,000. This is usually covered by home insurance when flooding is a plumbing-related problem.

Unfortunately, the process is typically long and disruptive to the homeowner, said Doreen Kulscar, co-owner of First Call Restoration Ltd.

Whenever a rash of flooding calls come in, companies have to prioritize mitigation measures over restoration. Kulscar said this means all the basements have to be dried out first, “to stop the loss and damage.”

Considering property owners also wait a while to hear back about insurance coverage, the restoration portion of the job can be weeks or months after the initial clean-up.

“It’s hard on homeowners to have their house torn apart. It’s an intrusive process,” said Kulscar. “It takes a lot of patience from everybody…”

Her four “emergency crews” were still busy on Wednesday, answering urgent calls from across the region.

Kulscar added, “If this (the rain) carries on, we might have to add some staff…”

According to Environment Canada’s forecast, the next few days should be fairly dry, but there is a 60 per cent chance of rain from Saturday throughout next week.

Central Albertans are advised to make sure their residential drain spouts are fully extended away from their homes during any rain event, and to check that their basement sump pumps are in working order to try to reduce the risk of flood damage.

“A lot also depends on the elevation of yards,” said Kulscar.

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