GRANDVILLE, Mich. (WOOD) - One week ago, homeowners along West Michigan waterways were watching and worrying as the floodwaters rose and their homes were filled with water. Now, they're trying to figure out what to do next.
Many of the homeowners affected -- like those along Buck Creek in Grandville -- have never had to deal with rising waters before and weren't sure what to do.
Kelli and Scott Van Overen are among those homeowners. Kelli came home last week to find four feet of water in the basement of their Grandville home.
"It was miserable," Scott said. "It was real bad."
They are still cleaning up and assessing the damage.
"The walls are gone. They got to be all repaired," Scott said.
"Dry walls got to be taken out. All the flooring was floating as the day went on," Kelli added.
The Van Overens had never experienced a flood before last week, but they have some supportive friends and neighbors helping them, especially when it came to disinfecting the salvageable items.
"They told us what actually we should spray; how to do it. How to do the cleanup properly ourselves because insurance wasn't covering it," Scott said.
The Kent County Health Department's Lisa LaPlante said her office is getting a lot questions from flooded-out homeowners wondering what to do next.
Most are worried about the basics, like when to start cleaning. The answer is now, LaPlante said.
"But as you doing it, document. Make sure your keeping your receipts, take some pictures. That way, if there is any reimbursement available, whether it's through insurance or something else, that components can be gone after," she said.
There's also a lot of things flood victims may not have thought about, like dealing with flood-damaged appliances. Don't start them up -- not even the furnace -- before they're checked out by a professional.
And in the case of food in a flooded fridge, "our best theory about that is when in doubt, throw it out," LaPlante said.
Homeowners with wells should also make sure those are safe. If the well head was underwater, it could be contaminated.
"If you are even concerned about the integrity of your well, you should contact a licensed or certified well driller or plumber to make sure that it's OK," LaPlante said.
The sad thing about going through something like this is that those affected also become experts. Even the Van Overens can add to the list of things first-time flood victims need to know.
"We figured the drywall and that kind of stuff would have to come out. The number one thing they said is having our ducts cleaned because of the mold spores," said Kelli.
Clean-up kits, which include a mop, gloves, broom, bucket, scrub brush and cleaning chemicals can be picked up at American Red Cross shelter locations at Alpine Baptist Church in Comstock Park and First Baptist Church in Lowell. For more information, contact the American Red Cross at 616.456.8661.
Hazardous waste, such as gasoline, insect repellant, antifreeze or motor oil, can be taken to these drop-off sites:
Transfer station at North Kent Landfill
2908 10 Mile Rd NE
Rockford, MI 49341
The Kent County Road Commission
1500 Scribner NW
Grand Rapids, MI 49504
The Wyoming Waste Water Treatment Plant
2350 Ivanrest Ave SW
Grandville, MI 49418
Kentwood Public Works
5068 Breton Rd SE
Kentwood, MI 49508
More information, including hours for Saturday drop-off, can be found by clicking here.
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