*Above video is a related story about Wednesday’s storm that caused flooded basements in Fairview Park

EASTLAKE, Ohio (WJW) — Was your basement flooded during Wednesday’s and Thursday’s heavy rains? A local expert has some tips on how to get on top of the problem.

“The quicker you clean up the sewage the better,” said Rick McGuigan, owner of Pine Ridge Restoration in Eastlake. “Mold starts to grow quickly from raw sewage and the damp conditions it leaves behind, then even more unhealthy black mold can start growing.”

“Safety first,” McGuigan added. “If the water is over the electrical outlets, don’t step in the water. It could be electrically charged.”

Whether you’re cleaning up after a couple of inches of water in your basement or more, wear latex gloves, goggles and an N95 mask, because mold, especially black mold can cause dangerous lung infections, McGuigan said.

When there’s torrential rain like there was Wednesday night, storm and sanitation sewers can cause drain overflow in basements. Water that contains raw sewage with bacteria, viruses and E-Coli contaminates all material it touches, he said.

That’s why homeowners whose basements flood are advised to throw out all contents and belongings that came in contact with the sewage. Wooden legs on tables, chairs, cabinets, and couches absorb bacteria and viruses you can’t see, he said.

Carpeting, padding, baseboards, drywall, and insulation that was covered or came in contact with raw sewage should all be removed and thrown away, McGuigan said.

That’s why when basement flooding is that serious, many overwhelmed homeowners call a professional cleanup service like Pine Ridge Restoration which also uses hot water pressure washers and large drying equipment.

“Bleach does not kill mold, it just takes the color out of it,” McGuigan said.

If you are going to use a cleaning material or disinfectant, he recommends homeowners use “plant-based antimicrobial green safe sprays and cleaners because they work fast killing bacteria, mold and viruses.” Plant-based cleaners are available at box stores.

He said only a few materials that aren’t porous like plastic or metal can be effectively cleaned.

McGuigan, whose local business has been around for 35 years, said this was one of the worst, most widespread storms he’s seen in 12 years.

“We’re seeing eight inches of water in some Avon basements and three feet in some North Olmsted basements,” he said.