What homeowners should do to clean up a flooded basement safely

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. - Many people are cleaning out their basements after the heavy rain the past day and a half. Many homes in the area of 11th Street and La Mesa Drive in Sioux Falls are dealing with flooding in their basements. That area is near Skunk Creek, which is at a high level.

One homeowner has lived there for 35 years and has never experienced this before. Judy Weidler said the water is coming in through her door. At one point, the water was about six inches deep in her home. She was on vacation in Florida when she had a friend check on her house.

"They worked their butts off to save what they could. These are all kids' tapes of my kids and stuff. We were able to save those things. That's what's important," Weidler said.

She said saving memories was the most important thing to her.

"It's the memories that you need. You need the pictures. You need the video tapes and the VCRs and that kind of stuff. That's what's important. It's not this stuff," she said.

She and her husband are picking up the pieces and saving what they can. The goal is to rip the carpet up once they can get the water out.

The emergency manager for Sioux Falls, Regan Smith, is encouraging people to take precautions if they're in the same situation as Weidler.

"Don't overexert themselves. It's kind of a stressful thing when that happens," Smith said. "Wear personal protective gear- gloves, rubber boots. You shouldn't be exposing your skin to that flood water."

After a homeowner has taken out the carpet and standing water, it's important to use bleach to clean the surfaces that have been contaminated. You can combine a gallon of water with a cup of bleach for a cleaning solution. When homeowners are cleaning out the water, they need to be emptying the water into the street because the waste water system can't handle extra water right now.

Weidler said she feels helpless in this situation, but she still has a positive outlook.

"You don't realize how bad it is until it happens to you," she said. "When you put it in the scheme of life, nobody died. Nobody got hurt."

Smith is also encouraging people to shower after dealing with a flooded basement and be sure to keep the kids out of the area with standing flood water.