Water Damaged Documents

Whether your washer leaks or the basement floods, water damage can cause a lot of problems in both residential homes and commercial buildings. While water damage is bad no matter what the source is, a natural disaster – like Hurricane Harvey – can cause even bigger problems. If your personal documents at home were ruined or your business is now staring at mountains of soggy papers, you may be wondering what to do with those papers. You may ask yourself if it’s possible to recycle or shred wet paper. Once a paper experiences water damage, you, unfortunately, may have no choice but to recycle it.

What to do if your documents were damaged by water?

Regardless of what you choose to do with your papers (salvage, shred, or recycle), it is important to act quickly to prevent mold and mildew growth.

  1. Assess the situation: What documents were affected? If the documents were soaked to the point of being unidentifiable, try to make a list of papers you know are affected. This will help greatly if you need to request replacement documents. Additionally, decide if any papers are salvageable.
  2. Discard boxes: If your documents were stored in cardboard boxes, carefully remove the papers and destroy the boxes.  Even if you dry the cardboard boxes, they are not safe to reuse. A word of caution when lifting boxes: the bottom of wet boxes tend to disintegrate and give way easily.  It’s best to remove the papers before attempting to lift the box.
  3. Dry your documents papers: It might seem pointless to dry a document that you intend on shredding, but this an important step for two reasons.  First and most importantly, drying your documents (along with any wet possessions) helps stop the growth of mildew and mold. If you were evacuated and returned home, it’s not unlikely to find mildew starting to grow. Second, soggy papers can begin to disintegrate and form a ball, clogging the shredder. Dry papers are much easier to shred.

How do I dry my papers?

Drying your papers and removing water from your home can be done.  The key is to lower the humidity levels and have constant air movement such as open windows and oscillating fans. Do not attempt to dry stacks of papers; rather, lay out each individual paper on a clean, dry surface. Flip the papers over as necessary to ensure that both sides are drying.

Why should I shred papers that are partially illegible?

Even if you cannot read an entire document, sensitive information may still be legible. For that reason, shredding is a secure way to make sure all of your personal information is kept private.  Additionally, if your business was flooded, you may have documents that you are not legally allowed to toss in the garbage; some types of documents, like healthcare records, must always be shredded.  Tristar will always issue a Certificate of Destruction as proof that you have complied with any legal obligations to destroy records.

Do I have to remove the fasteners?

Unlike small office shredders, Tristar shredders can easily tackle staples and binder clips which saves you time from removing those items from piles of wet documents.

If you have documents damaged by flood waters, contact us for a  free quote.

Federal Regulations for Shredding Hard-Drive Data

man shredding paper

Contrary to what most people know, complete data destruction is more than simple deletion of files and clearing the recycle bin in a computer. While the data may not be visible, it is still accessible on your hard drive and vulnerable to misuse by other parties. With this in mind, the IRS has established regulations that ensure 100% safe data destruction.

The IRS Publication 1075 Media Sanitation clearly explains that all organizations, whether international or local, are expected to follow the established guidelines for securing and eliminating Federal tax return and return information (FTI) they receive from the IRS. Once an agency is no longer in need of information it has received from the IRS, it may take steps to return the information or simply destroy the information.

The Approaches Used when Dealing with Hard Drives

There are various approaches to be considered when dealing with hard drives. They include:

a)    Overwriting the Drive

An agency may decide to overwrite the drive through the use of special software. There are several versions of this software available in the market, and selecting a proper one may be challenging. One overwrite is not enough, therefore, making this process time-consuming.

b)   Degaussing the Drive

This process involves the elimination of the magnetic field. However, the use of degaussers requires that the instructions be followed to the letter. Fortunately, the NSA/CSS has evaluated and published a list of degaussers and given information on the drives each model can erase.

c)    Physical Destruction of the Drive

The hard drive can be crushed, disintegrated or shredded. Agencies may choose to erase data through overwriting or degaussing, then crush, disintegrate or shred them. However, purchasing the equipment required for these processes is expensive for most agencies. Outsourcing, is, therefore, a viable solution for agencies. Approved data-destruction service providers will easily collect, reuse and recycle hard drives.

To maintain confidentiality, verification of the selected information sanitization and the selected disposal process is required. Usually, a sample a sample of the media is tested for sanitization to assure the agency of complete protection. Additionally, agencies should document the sanitization of the media for later reference.

Tristar Document Shredding

Tristar Document Shredding is a verified data-destruction company based in Texas. We offer complete, effortless and efficient data-destruction services to residents, communities and commercial entities. With state-of-the-art technology and mobile services across the state, we are easily accessible and promise 100% secure data destruction.

Shredding of hard drives through approved means is the easiest way of erasing data completely. During the destruction process, agencies select an individual to witness the process. The process is expected to be eco-friendly because the circuit boards in hard drives contain metals that are hazardous and toxic when released into the environment.

We easily remove hard drives and servers from heavy-duty commercial equipment and turn them into scrap metal. With our reuse, reduce and recycle policy, we ensure that all the hard drives entrusted to us are destroyed in an eco-friendly manner that is approved by relevant laws.

Clients are assured of our competence as we are a trusted member of the National Association for Information Destruction (NAID). We ensure that all the hard drives handed to us are secured and that information is not leaked. Our services are quick, efficient and easily available to all citizens of Texas. Contact Tristar Shredding through our website for excellent hard-drive shredding services.