Accredited Environmental Technologies, Inc.         




News Alert


100 Year Floodplain

Due Dilligence: Before Purchasing RealEstate

Four Precaution & PreventionTips

Emergency Planning: Pre-Flood

Why AET?

Quotes for the Month:


"Strive not to be a success, but rather to be a value"
Albert Einstein

"The greatest glory is not in never failing, but in getting up every time we do". Confuscius

"If I hadasked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses"
Henry Ford

"I don't know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to pleaseeverybody"
Bill Cosby




Who is next?... What can you do?

News Alert (May 5th 2010) Powerful thunderstorms drenched TN, KY, and MS dumping over 13 inches of rain on the region in two days. Creeks, lakes and rivers swelled with the rain water, overflowing their banks, washing away roads and attributed to 24 deaths. The Cumberland river, which winds through downtown Nashville, crested 12 feet above flood stage filling into the city and surrounding neighborhoods.

     This headline is all too common. Floods damage more homes than any other natural disaster in the US,  causing more then 2 billion dollars in property damage every year.

Flood Insurance

     Sprinkler discharge, pipe breaks or leaks associated with the roof, windows or other structural building components are typically covered bystandard property insurance policies. Water damage/losses associated with clogged or broken drains/sewers may or may not be covered and require a special endorsement to your policy. Incontrast, losses due to a broken main water line or surface waters are not covered and are classified as a flood.

     Standard property insurance policies do not cover losses due to floods. The flood exclusion excludes "damage caused by water under the ground or on the surface that exerts pressure on, or flows, seeps or leaks through basements, doors or openings, driveways, floor foundations, sidewalks or walls".

     Property lenders such as banks can/do mandate the real estate purchaser to buy flood insurance as part of securing a mortgage. Flood insurance is optional otherwise. Key Decision-making regarding flood insurance is whether the property is located in a floodplain, its elevation, type of construction and where the building contents are located. Flood insurance is provided under a separate policy from the insurance carrier which is backed by the Federal National Flood Insurance (NFI) Program. In general, there is a 30 day waiting period before the NFI coverage takes effect.

     Remember, flood insurance will only pay for direct physical loss and damages resulting from the flood.

     Coverage does NOT pay for loss of revenue or profits, use of the property, additional living expenses, business interruption or other economic losses.

100 Year Floodplain:

     Floodplains serve as natural drainage basins and provide flood storage for stormwater run-off. Properties located in a 100 year floodplain are defined to have a 1% chance (1 in a 100) of being flooded due to a 100 year rain. It does NOT mean it will happen 1 time in a 100 years. A 500 year floodplain means you have a 1 in 500 chance of a flood event. Although the odds appear remote, statistics indicate buildings in flood hazard areas have a 26% chance of being flooded during the period of a 30 year mortgage. Homeowners and businesses must be prepared as flooding can happen anywhere at anytime.

Due Diligence: Before Purchasing Real Estate

Get a Phase I Environmental Site Assessment - The environmental professional should:

  • Determine if the property is located in a 100 year or 500 year floodplain.
  • Identify the closest surface water source and the approximate distance to the river, streams, wetlands, ocean, etc.
  • Determine the elevation of the property in comparison to the water source and how many feet must the water level rise before impacting your property.
  • Talk to your neighbors and local agencies about past flooding problems in your area.
  • Look for old water marks/stains during site reconnaissance.
  • Review FEMA Maps to identify water drainage patterns around your property.

     Future owners should also ask their insurance agent about the availability and cost to purchase flood insurance for the property. Be sure to ask if the insurance coverage covers both the building structure and the contents. NFI available limits are a maximum of $250,000 for residential buildings ($500,000 for non-residential buildings) and $100,000 for residential contents ($500,000 for non-residential contents).

     Understand/clarify with your agent the coverage definitions, conditions and exclusions of your policy. Remember, the higher the deductible, the lower the premium.

     AET recommends owners develop a HIT LIST of site improvements for flood protection and include the cost of said improvement(s) into the property negotiation process. You should also check local zoning ordinances and building codes regarding special provisions (including permits) regulating construction, fill, repairs, regrading and other developments at your property. Constructing barriers out of fill or concrete can change the property drainage system but may also negatively affect the neighboring properties and are not permitted. Improvements should be implemented before you move in.

Four Precautions and Prevention Tips Regarding Water Damage and Flooding

  1. If you are going to be away for an extended period of time, turn off the water inlet valve at your outside water meter in case of a pipe break or leak.
  2. At least annually, turn off all water using equipment/fixtures and watch your water usage meter dial. If the water meter continues to turn, you may have a hidden leak.
  3. Be prepared; perform regular inspections of your building and grounds to limit your flood risk. Check out AET's Prevention Tips in our May 2010 newsletter. Remember: ground settles/erodes,gutters/drains clog, new cracks form ... Be alert for changes.
  4. Implement sustainable solutions such as:
    ► Construct interior flood walls around utilities.
    ► Elevate or relocate sensitive equipment.
    ► Install a sump pump system if you have below grade floors.
    ► Install glass block windows in basement window wells.
    ► Install back flow valves or plugs for drains, toilets or other sewer connections.

     Note: Sump pumps should not be connected to sanitary sewers which could cause the sanitary drains to back-up during heaving rains as well as placing an undue burdon on sanitary process equipment.

Emergency Planning: Pre-Flood

  1. Maintain a written plan for prevention, response, and cleanup of water emergencies including chain of command, responsibilities and authorities.
  2. Understand your community's emergency plans, warning signals, evacuation routes and locations of emergency shelters.
  3. Maintain an emergency phone list of vendors to assist in water emergencies including plumbers, electricians, HVAC contractors and water restoration contractors.
  4. Inform local authorities about any special needs at your facility, including elderly or disabled persons.
  5. Maintain up-to-date photos of your property, buildings and contents.
  6. Keep a limited quantity of supplies such as sand bags, plywood, plastic sheeting and lumber for emergency use.
  7. Move important items indoors or to an upper level or take off-site.
  8. Secure any chemical containers or gas cylinders.
  9. Turn off utilities at the main power switch including gas and water if you must evacuate the building.  Never enter a flooded basement with live electric.

Why AET?

     AET can assist you in the planning, prevention and restoration of your facilities. AET will also represent you as an independent resource in critical decision-making processes following a flood event including negotiations with your insurance carrier. AET is professionally trained and qualified to differentiate the cleaning methods for clean water versus contaminated water damage which could include surface water runoff, sewage and chemicals.

     Mold growth will occur within 48-72 hours of water impact. There is an exclusion in many policies for water, moisture, mildew or mold "that results from any condition that is within your control, including but not limited to, design, structural or mechanical defects". Check with your insurance agent about mold coverage.

     Please contact Mr. Roy Mosicant, CIH or Mr. Harris Brody CIH at 610-891-0114 or 1-800-9696-AET to discuss your water damage and mold concerns.

AET's services will make a difference in preventing future water damage claims and immediate response when water infiltration episodes occur.

  Alan Sutherland has been a Certified Industrial  
  since 1978 with over 30 years of CIH-related
  environmental consulting experience. He has a Masters
  Degree in Environmental Science
from Drexel University
  and is the founder/owner of Accredited Environmental
  Technologies, Inc. (In 1984). He is uniquely trained and
  licensed as an Environmental Professional in both the       
  field and laboratory. He has been the founder of twoAIHA Accredited Laboratories and a mentor to six (CIHs). Mr. Sutherland is also a Certified Hazardous Material Manager. He can be reached directly at 610-891-0114 or email

As a client or contact of AET you are automatically opted in to receive AET's free newsletter.  If you would like to be removed from the subscription,please see the links at the end of this email.  We apologize in advance for any duplication.


Visit us online today!