Ad-Express and Daily Iowegian, Centerville, IA

CNHI/Southeast Iowa

May 31, 2013

Waging war against water

OTTUMWA — Captain Clean’s crews have been out cleaning up what Mother Nature stirred up and left behind.

No one knows more about cleaning up those messes than the folks at the Ottumwa business, according to Jane Scales, business manager for Captain Clean.

“We have been busy, very busy, and our workers are out from early morning to late at night,” she said. “It’s been raining continually, the ground is saturated and foundations are start to seep.”

Scales said she has spoken with several customers upset about the latest round of wet weather, which has impacted area basements. The stories about those with finished basements really concern her.

“It’s traumatic,” she said. “They have carpet and finished walls that will have to dry out.”

And there’s also the potential for damage to keepsakes, furniture and other personal belongings that customers have stored in their basements.

“Our crews go as calls come in. Some need estimates from insurance because when a foundation seeps like that, it’s rarely covered by insurance,” Scales said. “We try to work closely with the client to keep the costs down and get them back on the road to recovery.”

And if a sewer backs up, “the stuff” has to be discarded because of the high bacterial content and sewage. Scales said the situation is a “very high health hazard” due to carpet pads and tearing out walls.

“It’s very labor intensive, and the crews have been working on basements all day,” she said.

Scales and her staff are not alone. Kevin McIntosh of Boitnott Enterprises in Ottumwa said his business is now averaging 20 calls per day.

McIntosh said he has worked on old and new basements that are now completely trashed. The owners are left with ruined rooms containing carpet, paneling, furniture and dry wall.

“You have to feel for them,” he said.

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The Iowegian wants readers to think about building code compliance. One Centerville resident at Monday's City Council meeting proposed the city create two new positions in the police department to only deal with minimum housing and nuisance abatement issues. The city currently has George Johnson as the only employee assigned to enforce building code compliance issues. Does Centerville need more than just Johnson to enforce code compliance issues? So, the question of the week is, "Should Centerville hire additional help to assist George Johnson enforce building code compliance issues?"

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