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OT Flooding

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  • OT Flooding

    It would appear that many of us here in BC are now facing a high risk of being flooded out of our homes. Horror stories abound from the famous flood of '48, and of course at some point we aren't going to have any way to defend against mother nature. Worse possibly is the potential for looting, etc. We've had some military shipped in to help deal with the situation. It's not generally said, but they're not here to sandbag, they're here to impose martial law as it becomes necessary. And it will be as the darker side of human nature comes out. We have at least our share of thieves and vandals, lots of crackheads, etc.

    At any rate, some of you have had to deal with flooding and other natural disasters, as well as these extra less than enjoyable 'benefits'. No doubt much of this is still rather fresh in your minds. If anyone would care to talk about things like 'what I would have done in hindsight', etc. that kind of thing, it would be good to hear it.

    One of the questions is 'do I stay and protect my property or do I leave'- we are told to expect to have the services cut off, even if the floodwaters don't actually impose. We'll be sitting ducks, and many of us won't want to leave, and will ignore the evacuation order when and if it comes. There's much more to this part of course, but another question I face is what to do with the shop machinery. If our dikes don't contain the river, my basement shop will flood, at least to about the 4 ft level, and possibly to about 6 or 7 ft. I can't easily remove the lathe, and the mill is more trouble. All the small tooling can be brought to a drier level easily enough. Someone suggested that I buy some heavy duty poly bags and encase these larger machines in them. Still not easy to do, but possible. Water pressure will try to collapse the bags around any open spaces, so the potential for a leak will still be there. What else would someone do?
    What might be the best way to minimize the damage from water in general? My thought was to pour a container of dish soap into the water in the basement, thinking that it could help to keep bacteria and mould from thriving. Someone suggested putting some pool chemicals into the water to more or less do the same thing.

    Would anything like this make a difference?

    If you've been through this and have any suggestions to offer, I and probably many others would like to hear them.
    I seldom do anything within the scope of logical reason and calculated cost/benefit, etc- I'm following my passion-

  • #2
    I stayed for Katrina,learned a few things-

    Gas up your vehicles and park them where they can get out in a hurry if the need arises.

    If you stay,stock up on gas for the generator,water for drinking(1 gallon per person per day for at least 7 days) Flash light batteries etc.little things like toilet paper,soap etc.

    A few bags f charcoal and some lighter fluid come in handy for heating water,cooking etc.MRE's are nice,if you can find some.

    Machines,fresh water isn't nearly as bad as salt,remove motors and switch gear on the heavy stuff and put the lighter stuff up in the rafters.

    If it does get wet,get it dry as soon as possible,open up whatever windows you may have(basement,I know) and get some fans going.Now might be a good time to invest in a sump pump.

    The plastic sheeting is a good idea,if you can get it under the machines a tie it up ala trash bag.

    Looting,well this is where guns become your friend unfortunately."You loot,we shoot" was a popular sign here after the storm and it worked well.Not so good in N.O.,but they had gun control/confiscation the predicted results bear out the fallicy.

    Other than that all I can say is,take care of yourself and family,all the stuff can be replaced.
    I just need one more tool,just one!


    • #3
      I hope it turns out ok for you. I had not heard about this before. I checked into google and found some info about it. If you could remove the motors, that would be good. If a machine got wet, I would blast it with WD-40. I used to save radios that got dropped into water with WD. I still had to take them apart and clean with alcohol. Good luck to you.


      • #4
        In Katrina my machines were tumbeled and all smashed up to a total loss but in a previous hurricane they were flooded with salt water and then salvaged. It took a lot of cleaning to get the silt ,sea weed and fish out and the motors had to be overhauled at a motor shop. As for looting we did not have much of a problem but most people were armed. In New Orleans it seems that the bad guys were armed while here in Mississippi the good guys were armed. It makes a big difference.
        Good luck
        John R.


        • #5
          If you have a scanner, copy all your important household papers and insurance polices and precious family pictures to copies of CD and keep them on your persons.

          I wouldn't wait one minute to evacuate. That equipment you are worried about can end up in a yardsale with you, or worse yet, family members dead.

          At one time after 20 years of marriage, everything we owned fit in the corner of a 1 car garage. We came back from that, you can come back from a flood.

          Don't worry about looters as it's something you can't really control. Just worry about seeking safety. I couldn't live with myself if my shop survived by I lost a family member or they lost me trying to save some hardware. Good luck, I'll keep you in our prayers.

          Could your tooling go into large 5gallon plastic buckets with lids on them? That might help relieve some anxiety.
          Last edited by Your Old Dog; 05-18-2007, 07:09 AM.
          - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
          Thank you to our families of soldiers, many of whom have given so much more then the rest of us for the Freedom we enjoy.

          It is true, there is nothing free about freedom, don't be so quick to give it away.


          • #6
            I don't expect the looting problem will be that bad. The situation in the Fraser Valley isn't like a lot of areas in the US and any looting that may occur will be mostly isolated incidents.

            There is a storage product available that may help with the machines. I was just at a trade show and was given a sample of a product called "Fluid Film".

            It says on the spray can: "Non evaporating, non-drying. Once in place, stays put and forms a protective barrier. Utilizes the unique molecular action from wool-wax along with other corrosion inhibiting ingredients. NOT WATER SOLUBLE. Apply over damp or dry surfaces. Repels water, resists washout.
            Fluid Film penetrates through rust stopping all metal deterioration on contact"

            It's made by NLS Products.


            The problem with the flooding is that Darryl lives in the area of the province that is part of the Fraser River flood plain. The Fraser River is a major river with no dams or flood control structures and it drains a water shed that includes everything west of the Rocky Mountains. The snow pack this year is around 140 to 160 percent above normal and the spring has been unusually cool. The snowpack in the mountains (BC is all mountains) hasn't really even started to melt yet and each day that passes increases the chance of a really warm spell causing a sudden and possibly catastrophic snow melt.
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            • #7
              WD-40 is absolutly worthless for rust prevention. I you are going to coat the machines get a product called LPS#3. Its a spay on wax, very similar to what Evan described, they are probably interchangable.
              Is it possable to start sandbagging a diversion dike around your house now, at at least around the openings to the basement?
              If nothing comes of it, you'll at least get a great workout. Get a high volume sump pump, hopfully you can stem the tide.

              As for putting anything in the water to prevent bacteria... don't use either of the things that were suggested.
              Dish soap dissovles oil and grease, the very things you want and need to stay on your tools.
              Chlorine chemicals are VERY strong oxidizers and eat iron like kids eat suger. Take a little chlorox (50% the strength of pool chemical) and rub it on some scrap steel. Instant rust.
              Last edited by Rusty Marlin; 05-18-2007, 11:47 AM.
              Ignorance is curable through education.


              • #8

                Some of items that I mention will be in the previous replies however this is what my Son did in the recent flooding in Bound brook, N.J.

                The first was to get his van to higher ground which was just a block away.

                When he saw that he had to evacuate he turned off the electricity, gas and water. He then packed up his family and brought them to our house. This was on a Monday morning.

                Later that day the water started to recede since it's tidal. We were able to get into the house with National Guard escort to get some medication. Took a look into the basement and it was at least four to five feet in depth.

                Tuesday we dropped in a 3" pump and pumped out the basement. His tools of course were under water. Cleaned out the wood and threw out obvious things that couldn't be salvaged. Vacuumed the basement, sprayed the walls with a diluted clorox and got out for the day.

                On wednesday I went in and finished cleaning. We had to replace the boiler gas controls, the hot water heater, and the buss bar plus breakers in the electrical panel.

                The washing machine floated and the controls were dry. He took it apart, dried out the motor, cleaned it, put it back together and it runs just fine. The dryer was also cleaned and dried out and that works well.

                We replaced the necessary items and was all was ok on inspection. Had to get a fee waived permit to do the repairs.

                They were back in by Sunday. The water did not reach the first floor and after cleaning no mold was found.

                I let him take care of his tools. It cost us, or should I say me, $800 to do the repairs. I had a professional change the boiler gas valve and check the controls which were fine once dried out. I guess what saved them was the electricity being turned off.

                My Son works for a company that deals in pumps. Some up to twelve inch.

                This is the second time around. The first was in '99 when Floyd hit only then it was 18" over the first floor.

                I think the most important thing is to keep cool and don't panic.


                • #9
                  A thought I had about the big plastic bags for larger tools. This might sound dumb, but you can get thick plastic at Home Depot/Lowes/whatever in big rolls 10'x1000' or so for very little. They don't come in 10' sections though, it's more like folded into thirds along the whole length, so it looks like it's only 3' or so but it folds out. They use it for covering insulation before they put on the boards to cover walls (I assume you know all this but just in case you dont )

                  Anyways, if you got a lot of vairous plastic cements/glues and caulk, you could make a huge tent to put over your lathe/mill. You would most likely have to make it into roughly the shape you're looking for (box for lathe, pyramid for mill) but then you could cement it to the concrete floor around your tools. This would save a big headache with getting a bag under the tools without tearing it.
                  You never learn anything by doing it right.


                  • #10
                    I can vouch for LPS-2 being good for rust protection on machines immersed overnight in fresh (sorta, not salt anyway) water. LPS-3 should better, as it is even heavier & more waxy. I doubt that it's reasonably possible to build a machine tent that will survive going under water. Metal objects will survive far better than wood, which in turn will survive far better than cloth or paper. Significant siltation will make everything far worse, hope you don't have to deal with that.

                    I'd give first priority (after people) to important papers, photos, and computer backups (you do backup, don't you?).

                    A handy item to have during cleanup is a garden sprayer loaded with clorox solution. Great for application where needed. Unfortunately, even if you could find a non-rusting mold & slime preventative any flooding would dilute it into ineffectiveness.

                    Note that only specific flood insurance covers water damage: with any other kind your bank account will be the only thing left high & dry.

                    Good luck.



                    • #11
                      Chlorine pool chemicals will certainly help with the bacteria but it sure won't do any favors for any machines. Any uncoated steel or iron surface will rust violently. You might as well have it soaking in salt water. And the rust won't be confined to submerged areas. The chlorine gas released from the chemicals will do the same damage.

                      Pretreating surfaces in the home with a solution of Borax will help reduce mold growth. As far as the machines, I'd be moving them to higher ground.


                      • #12
                        I appreciate all the replies. We've talked this over many times by now, and one thing that looks good, for me anyway, is that my house won't have water flowing past it. Mostly it will creep in then drain away as levels go down. My foundation rises about 3 ft above ground, and it looks like I can put a barricade (maybe 2 ft high) in one doorway opening, and prevent a direct flow of water to downstairs. The closed in garage won't be so lucky. I have four basement windows, and it appears that I could seal a piece of plywood up to the foundation around each window to prevent a fast leakage inwards from those. I'll probably make the plywood 2 ft high and hope for the best. I need to deal with the floor drain and two sewer drains, both easy to do. My main floor is at least 3 ft above ground, so that gives me a chance.

                        We did a drive around today checking out the area for low spots and channels where water once flowed. There are so many people with houses built in these lower areas- man I feel sorry for them. I can look out a window and see one house where the driveway slopes down from the street, and all I can see of the pickup truck is the hood and up. There's a lot of people here hoping that it doesn't get bad- some are in denial that a flood could happen- one guy said he prayed that the clouds will gather and cover the snowpacked areas so it doesn't melt too quickly, and he says we'll be safe now. If this catastrophe happens, it will be panic city here.

                        One interesting possibility was suggested, if it becomes necessary to drain a flooded basement, and that's to use the motorcycle to run a water pump. Take off the drive sprocket and rig a coupling and shaft to the pump. Now that's something I'd be inclined to do, but I have to try to keep real here. If I did that, I'd have to rig up a good fan to keep the motor cooled enough, and frame up the bike so it can't possibly go anywhere.

                        There's three vehicles here, one isn't mine. That and the Landcruiser will stay on the ground, the van I could drive up on ramps to get a little extra clearance.

                        I'm going to be one busy lad for a while as I scramble to get prepared. I spent all of today preparing the upstairs to receive the downstairs. It's gonna be quite a workout getting all this junk hauled up.
                        Last edited by darryl; 05-20-2007, 05:41 AM.
                        I seldom do anything within the scope of logical reason and calculated cost/benefit, etc- I'm following my passion-


                        • #13
                          Stick a potato in the exhaust pipes of the vehicles.
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