Homeless encampment cleanup can feel very challenging, especially when it has to be done on property that you own. The city or local authorities are in charge of making sure that homeless encampments are cleaned on public property, but when it comes to private businesses or homeowners, the responsibility of cleanup falls to the people who own the sites. Once the encampment has been emptied of residents, cleaning has to begin. This is where working with a cleaning company that has experience cleaning out encampments can help.
Homeless Encampments Are Everywhere
As the homeless population grows in the state and throughout the country, more and more people without means are looking for a place to live. Many of them settle into homeless encampments. A homeless encampment refers to a site where two or more people set up temporary shelter on public or private property.
Homeless encampments are located wherever there’s space. Sometimes they’re found on wooded trails in residential neighborhoods. Others are located near beaches. Some are located along highways. They can be tiny encampments made up of just a few people, or they can be large, sprawling sites filled with hundreds of people. The one common theme linking most of them is that they’re unregulated, unsanitary spaces that pose serious health risks to the people living in them and to the community at large.
Health and Safety Issues
One of the biggest reasons that homeless encampment cleaning has to be done properly is because the sites are filled with biohazardous waste. A biohazard is a biological substance that can endanger humans. Biohazardous waste is filled with pathogens, the microorganisms like some viruses and bacteria that cause disease in humans.
Homeless encampments are filled with biohazardous waste like human waste, blood, animal waste, drug paraphernalia, rotten food, and a host of other sources. Because there are no bathroom facilities at homeless encampments, there’s no place for people to wash, use the bathroom, or wash their clothes. They’re constantly touching dirty items, after which they touch a lot of shared items at the site. The complete lack of hygienic practices causes diseases to spread easily through the camps. Typhus, hepatitis A, and tuberculosis are just a few of the communicable diseases that run rampant through these sites, and if left unchecked, they could spread to and infect the larger community as well.
Proper Cleaning Is Key
Proper cleaning is absolutely vital when it comes to cleaning homeless encampments. Regular cleaning won’t work because biohazardous waste doesn’t respond to regular cleaners and solvents. Professionals who specialize in cleaning homeless encampments have OSHA-approved solvents, cleansers, and disinfectants at their disposal. These cleaners are designed to kill pathogens at their source, sanitizing the space and preventing the further spread of disease.
Homeless Encampment Cleaning Steps
There are basic steps that are followed when it comes to homeless encampment cleaning.
Cleaners will remove the temporary shelters that were set up and toss them. They’ll also remove all of the debris found on the site. Any debris that’s contaminated with biohazardous waste will be discarded in special bins or containers that are set aside strictly for that purpose.
Next, the cleaning team will get rid of all of the biohazardous waste on site, including drug paraphernalia and human waste, putting each type of waste into its appropriate container.
Once the trash and waste has been cleared, the site will be washed down with OSHA-approved cleaners, deodorizers, and disinfectants. These cleaners will kill the pathogens and sanitize the site, making it safe for people to use again.
Teams Wear Protective Gear to Guard Against Contamination
Professional cleaners wear PPE (personal protective equipment) that will help protect them from all of the biohazards they’ll encounter in the encampment. Most of the gear is single-use, so it’s thrown out once the job is over. This helps prevent cross-contamination between scenes. They wear full bodysuits or coveralls that will help protect them from head to toe. Face masks and respirators will help protect mucous membranes in the nose, mouth, and nose from catching pathogens.
Biohazardous Waste Transferred to Waste Facilities
After the biohazardous waste is collected and stored in bins, it needs to be transferred to a waste facility for disposal. The state of California has strict guidelines for biohazardous waste disposal. According to regulations, most biohazardous waste needs to be destroyed within fourteen days.
Dealing with homeless encampment cleanup takes a lot of work. Biohazardous waste cleanup is an extremely important task that needs professional cleanup team involvement if it’s going to be done properly. It has to be done by cleaners who are trained in cleaning up biohazardous waste or else there’s no guarantee that the site is truly clean. If you’re not sure how to begin the process of cleanup, give us a call so that we can help.