What do I do after my house has flooded?

Flooded Home ImageFlooding can be an overwhelming and distressing experience, causing significant disruption and hardship. Please know that you are not alone in facing these challenges. One of the best things about Idaho Falls is how we know how to pull together and help one another. The following webpage provides simple guidance and links to reputable resources to respond to flooding.

Personal Safety is always the highest priority when entering buildings damaged by floodwater.

Turn off the electricity (only if you can do so without stepping into water). Shut off natural gas service or propane gas line to the structure. Shut off the water main located inside the basement if accessible; if not accessible, call the Idaho Falls Water Division at (208) 612-8471 to request a water curb-stop shutoff. 

Small Business Administration Disaster Loans

Low-interest federal disaster loans are available to Idaho businesses and residents affected by the flooding caused by extreme and excessive rainfall that occurred on May 23, announced Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman of the U.S. Small Business Administration. SBA acted under its own authority to declare a disaster in response to a request SBA received from Gov. Brad Little on July 20.

The disaster declaration makes SBA assistance available in Bingham, Bonneville, Caribou, Jefferson, Madison and Teton counties in Idaho; and Lincoln and Teton counties in Wyoming.

The Disaster Loan Outreach Center is located at the Bonneville Emergency Operations Center, 605 N. Capital Ave. Idaho Falls, ID  83402. They are open Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The Outreach Center closes permanently at 5 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 10. 

Cleaning up the water and damage

  • Pump out flooded basements gradually - (about one-third of the water per day) to avoid structural damage. If the water is pumped completely in a short period of time, pressure from water-saturated soil on the outside could cause basement walls to collapse.
  • Watch out for natural gas leaks in flooded buildings -  flooding has the potential to move buildings and cause gas leaks.
  • Do not smoke near or inside buildings where there is a concern of a gas leak - a ruptured gas line or leaking gas from appliances could cause a gas explosion and fire. Do not smoke inside buildings. Smoking in a confined area can cause a fire or gas explosion. Do not turn the electricity back on in a building where gas leaks could be present. Use a sealed flashlight for inspection, not a plug-in light.
  • Inspect the structure for structural damage caused by the flood. If any are found, either call a structural engineer for an onsite safety inspection or a licensed contractor to provide you with an estimated repair cost. All structural repair to the structure requires a licensed building contractor who can obtain the appropriate permits to proceed with repairs
  • Renters - call your landlord or the rental agency to report the damage and request rental agency flood repair procedures.
  • Homeowners - call your home insurer for weather-caused water damage coverage included in your homeowners’ policy. If so document everything for the insurance adjuster. If there is no insurance coverage for weather-caused water damage, plan on beginning the clean-up once all safety concerns are resolved.
  • Start the clean-up process - you may wish to contact a local restoration company, which can be found through a quick internet search. If a restoration company is unable to provide assistance, begin cleaning up as quickly as possible. Wet surfaces and materials can begin to mold quickly. For more detailed guidance on after-flood home clean-up, visit the Federal Emergency Management Administration's website.
  • Remove damaged drywall (sheetrock) - if a floor was wet, even if water did not rise up the walls, remove no less than the bottom 12" of the drywall as well as any floorboard trim. Water on a floor surface enters and wets the wall cavity and often causes a significant but hidden problem with mold reservoir in the wall cavity.
  • Prevent mold damage - to reduce mold issues, you’ll need to do two things: keep areas that are flooded as dry as possible and treat potential problem areas with a strong cleaner, like a bleach solution. FEMA also has some helpful instructions (click “helpful instructions link”) on dealing with mold and mildew after your home floods.
  • Before turning on the power check all electrical equipment, wiring, switches, outlets, etc. that were damaged by water.
  • Inspect all natural gas valves, gas lines, water lines and water valves before turning on natural gas and water. Ensure that pilot lights on water heaters, stoves, etc. are reignited and functioning properly. If not, turn off the gas and call a professional.

Imminent Dangers

If there is evidence of a serious structural issue such as a visibly damaged or collapsed foundation, contact the Idaho Falls Building Division. You may need an inspection from a code official before safely re-entering the building.  

Landfill, Solid Waste and Dumpsters

To request a dumpster, please fill out a Sanitation Service Agreement Application. The application can be found at https://www.idahofallsidaho.gov/FormCenter/Utilities-28/Sanitation-Service-Agreement-107

  • Monthly Fee $35.70
  • Haul & Dump Fee $164.85
  • Bonneville County Fee $75.00
  • Landfill Haul Fee $142.00 

The total cost for 1 dumpster for 1 month and 1 dump is $417.55

The local landfill and transfer station are owned and operated by Bonneville County. For information on what types of waste are accepted, locations, hours and pricing visit their website at https://www.bonnevillecountyidaho.gov/county-departments/solid-waste

*The information on this page are general recommendations and should not be a substitute for seeking professional advice or services that are specifically related to individuals' situations.