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Cleanup Costs Can Pile Up For Flood Victims With Worst Damage

A worker removes damaged drywall from a flood-damaged home in Lombard on April 24, 2013, nearly a week after widespread flooding in the Chicago area from heavy rains. (Credit: CBS)

A worker removes damaged drywall from a flood-damaged home in Lombard on April 24, 2013, nearly a week after widespread flooding in the Chicago area from heavy rains. (Credit: CBS)

Jim Williams (CBS) Jim Williams
Jim Williams, a native Chicagoan, co-anchors the CBS 2 Chicago Wee...
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LOMBARD, Ill. (CBS) – Nearly a week after widespread flooding damaged thousands of homes and businesses in the Chicago area, the exhausting and costly cleanup process continued for many flood victims on Wednesday.

CBS 2’s Jim Williams visited one west suburban man who has been going all out to restore his home.

Paul Ostruska said “it is more than a welcome sight for me” after a panel truck packed with dehumidifiers and other flood cleanup equipment began unloading near his home in Lombard.

He needs the equipment after a retention pond next door overflowed, flooding his home.

Ostruska said he decided he needed professional help “right after I had 10 feet of water in my house.”

Ostruska called in ServiceMaster Clean, a commercial cleaning and disaster restoration service.

“Business has been very busy,” ServiceMaster account executive Andrew Burdett said.

ServiceMaster crews have been cutting away damaged drywall at Ostruska’s home, trying to remove any threat to his wife, who has asthma.

“Mold can be a problem,” Burdett said.

ServiceMaster president and CEO Steve VanDenBerg conceded not everyone can afford this kind of cleanup, which can cost tens of thousands of dollars.

But he suggested, if you’ve been flooded, at least use simple a concoction to guard against mold.

“One or two ounces of bleach to a gallon of warm water, with a low pressure sprayer, and spray that on the affected area,” VanDenBerg said.

Flood victims should also bring fans and a dehumidifier to get out excessive moisture.

Even after Ostruska’s big flood and cleanup, he said he’s staying put next to the pond.

“We’ve lived here for 30 years, and don’t want to leave,” he said.

Your insurance might cover flood damage and the cost of services to restore your home, but read your policy carefully. Flood victims also should look into any government programs that offer assistance.