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Sunday, April 14, 2024

Glossary of Common Restoration Terms - S

Salinity refers to the concentration of mineral salts and chlorides dissolved in water. It is measured by the weight of the total dissolved solids, electrical conductivity or osmotic pressure.

Salinity Intrusion
Salinity intrusion is the movement of salt water into a body of fresh water. This can occur in either surface water or groundwater. Salt intrusion can affect the ecosystem over time as well as the fresh water supply of a community.

Salvage is the actual or monetary recovery of a damaged component or item through remediation or restoration work.

Sand is made of small grains of rock and substrate particles that are generally 0.06 to 2 mm in diameter. Sand is larger than silt and is smaller than the size of gravel. When tracked into household floors from footwear, sand is very difficult to remove by picking up even with a wet mop. It can cause clogs in drains and should be removed by sweeping or vacuuming.

Sanitary Water
Sanitary water is dispersed potable water from a broken water pipe or line.

Sanitation is a process of putting an area or environment into a condition that is free from health risks for human health. This is done through sanitizers or disinfectants that are applied to surfaces and objects within the area.

Sanitizers are chemicals or substances that reduce the number of microorganisms in an affected area down to a safe level. The effectiveness of sanitizers is tested through the 5-log reduction method, wherein sanitizers should exterminate 99.999% of a bacterial test population within 30 seconds. Disinfectants are different from sanitizers in terms of higher kill capability of pathogens. However, disinfectants and sanitizers cannot totally sterilize an area or completely eradicate all microorganisms.

Saturation is achieved in a particular area or enclosure if 100% relative humidity is achieved. This means that the air in that area cannot retain any more water.

Scope is the term used to describe the process of viewing or observing the inner areas of ductwork, chimney chases, crawlspaces, etc. during restoration work.

Secondary Container
Secondary containers are containers or bottles that used in cleaning and restoration processes by holding and dispensing cleaning products. These containers are secondary as the contents are transferred from a primary chemical container.

Secondary Damages
Secondary damages are results caused by primary damages or losses. Examples are flood and water damage, which can result in corrosion, rust, mold, mildew, fungi, odor and other after-effects if improper remediation and restoration work is performed.

Secondary Treatment
Secondary treatment is the biological process of reducing suspended, colloidal and dissolved organic matter in sewage and effluent from primary treatment systems. It usually involves the use of filters and the activated sludge process.

Seepage is the gradual movement or intrusion of fluid and moisture into or through a porous medium. An example is the rain or floodwater seepages through the walls of basements causing water damage to contents and structural components.

Septage (hauled sewage)
Septage is sewage pumped from domestic septic tanks, holding tanks and portable toilets. This material primarily contains human feces, toilet waste, shower waste, bathtubs, kitchens and laundry wastes.

The sequence of a process is the order that cleaning and restoration activities are done. A pre-determined sequence of procedures is usually set in place, although the order of the jobs may need variation depending on the situation of the area to be restored.

Sewage is mainly liquid waste containing some solids and is produced from domestic, commercial and industrial establishments. Sewage is one type of wastewater and typically contains washing water, feces, urine, laundry waste and other waste materials that go down drains and toilets. Sewage is a major source of pollution in urban areas and is considered a potential health risk if sewage damage in a home is apparent. Remedial and restoration work should be done immediately in such cases.

Sheet Vinyl
Sheet vinyl is a flooring material sometimes used in kitchens and restrooms and has the appearance of linoleum that is cut into pre-sized tiles.

Sinks are washbasins or receptacles that are found in restrooms or kitchens. These are usually connected with a source for water as well as a drainage system.

Sludge or sewage sludge contains solid residues that settle from municipal, commercial, or industrial sewage treatment plants. These are also referred to as biosolids or processed organic wastes.

Smoke Residue
Smoke residues are gas products of combustion that are made visible by the presence of carbon particles.

Smoke Stain
Smoke stains are discoloration and texture changes on walls and surfaces caused by oxidation after the combustion of various materials.

Sodium Chloride
Sodium chloride, or NaCl, is the chemical composition of salt, which is used for a variety of household and industrial purposes.

Sodium Hypochlorite
Sodium hypochlorite, or NaClO, is the chemical composition of chlorine bleach, which is used for a variety of cleaning purposes.

Soil is basically earth or dirt. Soil is a mixture of humus and other particles that are weathered from rock and contains major nutrients like nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium.

A solution is a mixture of two or more substances.

A solvent is an agent that can dissolve a solid, liquid or a gaseous solute to form a solution for a variety of purposes. The most common solvent is water, and is termed the universal solvent. Organic solvents contain carbon-based chemicals. Solvents have low boiling points and can evaporate easily. Solvents can also be removed from a solution through distillation. Organic solvents are used in dry cleaning, paint thinners, glue, spot removers, detergents, perfumes and other chemical syntheses. Inorganic solvents other than water are used in chemical research and technological functions and processes.

Soot is fine particles that are formed from the incomplete combustion of fuels. Soot can be powdery, oily or tar-like depending on the type of combustion fuel.

A sponge is an absorbent tool that is used to wipe and clean surfaces. Household sponges are synthetic materials similar to the natural sponge, which comes from the marine creatures called poriferans.

Spores are small, specialized reproductive structures that are adapted for dispersal and survival for long periods of time. Spores are part of the life cycle for many plants, algae and fungi including molds.

Sporicides are disinfecting agents that are used to exterminate bacteria and fungi.

A squeegee is a cleaning tool that is edged with rubber and is used for removing water from floors. Window squeegee are sometimes used to remove water and cleaning solutions from windows.

Sterilization is the process of completely eradicating an area or an object from all contaminates and microorganisms.

A stream is a general term for a body of water that flows in a natural narrow channel through gravity and flows for at least a part of the year.

Stress Crack
Cracks in plaster and drywall that are caused by heat or moisture expansion are called stress cracks.

A structure refers to a walled or roofed building that is above ground. This includes a manufactured home or a building.

Surface Water
Surface water refers to all waters with surfaces that are naturally exposed to the atmosphere and the environment such as rivers, lakes, reservoirs, ponds, seas, and other bodies of water.

A subcontractor is a person or a company that has a contract for a specific portion or a project in restoration work.

Subfloors are underlying flooring that is used to support a finished floor and can be used as a structural support for lateral loads.

Submersible Pumps
Submersible pumps are hermetically-sealed water pumps used in flood or water removal processes. These pumps are submerged into the body of water where it draws water and pushes it out into a discharge outlet.

Substrates are the underlying materials that support layers of other materials on a surface.

Subsurface Drying
Subsurface drying is a water damage restoration process that forces air or uses negative air pressure to dry out an underlying surface, such as subfloors under carpets or insulation within drywalls.

Subsurface Flood Extractor
Flood extractors are water damage restoration tools that have specially designed suction plates that draws water from carpets and underlying pads into a vacuum chamber.

Sump Pump
Sump pumps are electric pumps that are installed in basements to prevent or remove water from basement areas.

The Superfund is a special tax collected from the production of chemical feedstocks and raw petroleum. The Superfund money can be used by the EPA in the investigation, evaluation and cleanup work for identified hazardous waste sites.


This glossary is another free service, provided by RestorationSOS® as a part of our comprehensive service pledge. We believe that knowledge is a key element in a smooth and successful restoration project.

The terms in this glossary are commonly used during fire and water damage restoration projects. These terms are likely to be included in the estimate and contract, and are usually translated into the final cost. Please feel free to contact us with any question or concern.

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