Recently there was another unfortunate death from Hantavirus in our area, someone who had been cleaning out a rodent-infested building. The Centers for Disease Control has guidelines on their website concerning self-cleanup, and you can read them at: http://www.cdc.gov/rodents/cleaning/
However, given the very real health hazards associated with this work, it may be something you would rather have professional help with, especially if it’s a larger area. Not all companies who offer this service follow the same rigorous protocols to protect you (and their workers) so here’s a look at how I as a Certified Bio-Remediator would approach a typical rodent cleanup job.
When we clean up rodent contamination or other biohazards, we use heavy-duty disposable protective suits, full-face respirators and heavy gloves to protect our workers. We ventilate the area (crawlspace, shed or dwelling) using HEPA-filtered airscrubbers to prevent cross-contamination, and use safe, plant-based broad-spectrum disinfectants to kill viruses, as well as fungal growth that can occur on rodent droppings or carcasses.
Special HEPA vacuums are used to remove feces, urine residue and small carcasses after initial debris removal. These vacuums are equipped with sealed HEPA filtration systems so that even the fungal spores and very small particles of virus-laden feces or urine residue can’t escape. (NOTE: regular vacuums or “Hepa” Shop-vacs such as from a hardware store or Home Depot, are NOT suitable for this type of work, precisely because they will allow these small particles through, filling the air with fine contaminants while removing only the larger filth, and creating a bigger breathing hazard!)
We then steamclean or handwash surfaces and contents as needed to leave them in a safe, sanitary state, and perform on-site ATP contamination testing to verify that everything is clean. Additionally, we photodocument the test results and the work area as we go, and provide you with these photos along with your final invoice.
Finally, equipment used on the job is cleaned and decontaminated, and any potentially infectious waste disposed of in accordance with Infectious Waste Disposal regulations (not just thrown into a dumpster, where it could potentially affect others!)
When hiring a professional, ask for a plan of work along with the estimate. Double-check it against these best practices and make sure they adhere to these practices during your job to ensure a safe clean environment for you and your family!
If you have questions for me you can reach me by cellphone at 970-759-2395, and I will be happy to help you. If you’d like to schedule an inspection, remediation plan and estimate, call the office at 970-385-8444 and we’ll find a time that works for you. Have a great day, and stay clean and green!