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Judy Roth, owner of Judy's Barge Inn in Buffalo, uses bleach to mop the floor of her restaurant Tuesday as the floodwaters recede enough for cleanup to begin. She hopes to open on Friday.

Now that water from the Flood of ’19 is receding, cleanup companies specializing in water and flood damage are busy, with some scrambling to keep up.

Jordan Welder, marketing coordinator for SERVPRO, said a lot of the problems are from recent heavy rains. “Obviously the flooding doesn’t help,” he said. “We are putting people on waiting lists now.”

The waiting list has been ongoing for the last couple of weeks, he said.

"We’re doing inspection to see what we’re really looking at,” then doing the work a day or two days out, depending on client needs, he said.

“We have a lot of calls about water and basement sump pump failures,” he said, adding the company serves a wide region in both the Illinois and Iowa Quad-Cities.

“In May alone, we had 96 calls and 100 inquiries. That’s a lot for only eight days,” Welder said Wednesday.

Rob Hinckley, managing operator of 1-800 WATER DAMAGE of the Quad-Cities, said the company’s official opening date was Feb. 23.

“We’re now starting to get the jobs from downtown Davenport businesses,” Hinckley said. “We completed seven jobs in May, with a potential of 25 on the horizon."

“Commercial is just now being able to get back in (to buildings) and now they’re calling us.”

“A lot of the calls are flooding situations where the water hasn’t gone down yet,” Welder said. “If the water is still flowing in or still standing, we can’t go in until the water recedes or is pumped out.”

“Now we’re starting to deal with sewer backups and buildings after the contaminated river waters have receded,” said Mark Carlson, of Blaze Restoration, Inc.

“It does vary. It depends on the job how long they’re going to wait,” Welder said.

Flood cleanup in general is a waiting game, said Kevin Jenison, communication manager for the City of Muscatine.

“Businesses that were affected still are waiting for the water to go down,” he said Thursday. The city, too is waiting to start cleanup on Mississippi Drive and Riverside Park, he said.

On Thursday, Muscatine tied the record for 55 days above flood stage, which was set in 1993.

Hinckley advised residents and business owners affected by the flood to call in professionals to survey the water damage. “It’s best to let a professional handle it because of contaminants,” he said.

“We’re always here to offer advice, to help people understand what they’re looking at,” Carlson said. He, too, emphasized it’s important for a specialists to guide cleanup for those affected by the flood.

One level of cleaning involves fresh water rain backup or sump pump failure. River water requires trained crews with protective gear, he said.

Crews are prioritizing calls, depending on what the customer needs, he said. “Sewer or contamination may take precedence over sump pump back up in an unfinished basement,” he said, adding Blaze has called extra crew members to the Quad-Cities.

To help with cleanup, according to the City of Davenport website, city crews will pick up, haul away and dispose of sandbags no longer needed by request. To request sandbag hauling, call 563-326-7923, or submit an online request at https://yourgov.cartegraph.com/.

Sandbags must be placed in a pile in the curb line and not obstruct traffic.

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Film critic/reporter since 1985 at Quad-City Times. Society of Professional Journalists, Broadcast Film Critics Association and Alliance of Women Film Journalists member. Member of St. Mark Lutheran Church.