Average Cost of Biohazard Cleanup
Biohazard cleanup refers to the restoration and remediation that takes place in a property where an event has taken place that involves (or could involve) biological agents. There are a number of different potential causes of biohazard damage. The most common of these are floods caused by natural bodies of water, such as rivers, lakes, or flash floods. Because of the potential for bacteria, viruses, and other potentially harmful organisms, the cleanup after a flood requires specialist biohazard cleanup.
Another potential cause of biological damage is following a trauma such as an accident, injury, or death. In most cases, this will need to have been a fairly serious event for there to require a professional cleaner (nosebleeds and grazed knees may result in blood on the carpet or furniture, but do not require professional cleaning, for example).
In general, biohazard cleanup means dealing with:
Animal or human waste, remains, or fluids
Other organic hazardous materials
Because of the potential dangers involved, it requires a professional team to undertake the work. Regardless of your budget or intentions, you simply won’t have the training and equipment to deal with the cleanup yourself. Not only is it critical to avoid contamination and potentially exposing yourself to harmful materials, but the cleanup has to be extremely thorough since biohazards are – by definition – microscopic. In many cases, insurance policies will cover the cost of cleanup, although you need to ensure that your policy covers things like flooding and other sources of biohazards.
Because of the expertise and equipment involved, biohazard cleanup can be fairly expensive.
Unfortunately, in many situations, there is little choice but to pay the price. If your home has been contaminated by a sewer pipe backup, you don’t want to be cutting corners when it comes to cleanup.
This guide will walk you through the costs involved, helping you understand not only the overall costs involved, but breaking down these prices so that you know where your money is being spent. On top of the unavoidable costs, however, there are additional extras. This is where it is more plausible to save and spend money depending on your particular needs and capabilities.
This guide is designed to take much of the stress away from the entire process of biohazard cleanup. While it’s unlikely to ever be a pleasant process, by anticipating costs, you can at least have some fair warning of what is likely to be in store.
BIOHAZARD CLEANUP COST BREAKDOWN
THE OVERALL COST
Overall, if you do require professional biohazard cleanup, you can expect to pay somewhere between $3,000 and $5,000, with an average of $4,000. This is the average price for a 2,000 square foot home. In most cases, biohazard cleanup requires extensive work and is very rarely localized to one room or part of your home. Therefore, it is unlikely that your price will deviate a great deal from the price noted.
In some extreme cases, you may see a range of between $1,500 and $25,000, although those apply to fairly unique circumstances.
Broadly they break down as follows:
A low-cost cleanup will be somewhere between $1,500 and $2,500. This usually involves decontaminating a home from a virus. This level of biohazard cleanup involves only cleaning the surfaces to sanitize the space, which will usually be done in two visits. Any excess waste is also removed.
By far the most common cost range is $3,000 to $5,000. This would typically be for a lightly flooded home, clean up after a hoarder, or some other similar biohazard. For this price, you will get cleanup and waste removal, as well as some minor repairs to the home.
The upper limit for cleanup is potentially infinite (for example, if flood water causes structural damage to your home), however, you’ll most likely see high prices in the vicinity of $15,000 to $25,000. This sort of cleanup would involve major restoration work, usually after extensive flooding, a crime scene, or a major sewage backup. This is likely to involve not only clean up, but sanitization, deodorizing, waste removal, and repairs. As such, this is major work, which will be reflected in the price.
A further cost to consider is that of labor. Unlike many other types of restoration work, the cost of labor is contingent upon the type of biohazard involved. Within the industry, these are defined by ‘biosafety level’. The higher the risk, the higher the hourly cost for labor. The table below will give you a rough idea of what is involved.
Type of Waste Material
Hourly Labor Cost
Low-level threats to health
$25 to $50
Potential for severe illness in the case of direct contact
Measles and mumps
$25 to $75
Airborne pathogens that cause serious to fatal disease, although there is a vaccine readily available
$50 to $150
High risk of life-threatening disease, where a vaccine is not readily available
$150 to $600
In cases where the biohazard is not known, contractors may use a ‘best guess’ estimate to determine the pricing. If there is a risk of high levels of biosafety concerns, there may be a need for testing of the materials before work may proceed.
Generally, the additional pricing reflects the need for additional equipment as well as representing the dangers involved in the work. In some extreme cases, companies may not have the equipment or expertise to deal with the cleanup and may recommend specialist services. These will tend towards the higher pricing levels of the table above.
Although the costs listed above are fairly fixed – there’s not much room for negotiation when your basement is full of backed-up sewage water – there are other variable costs involved in the process that you may wish to consider. In addition, because each job is so tailored and customized, there is a great deal of variance in the price involved. The below are factors that will affect the final price.
If you have experienced biohazard damage in a room with furniture or carpet, it’s likely that you will need to totally remove all of the contaminated objects. In this case, the contractors will be able to organize removal for you, although disposal will need to be done in a proper, biosecure manner. This generally costs somewhere between $2 and $20 per pound.
In very extreme circumstances, you may need to have your waste contained in a sealed metal drum. If this is the case, you will pay roughly $50 per drum (regardless of how full it is).
If you need waste to be collected, you will pay $50 to $200 for transport. This is usually a separate cost to the cost of disposal (i.e. if your contractor charges for disposal, you won’t have to pay waste pickup). Again, if you require extra care, then there may be additional charges (e.g. for the removal of a metal drum).
Some crime scene cleanup companies offer a therapist as part of their services, on the basis that many crime scene cleanups usually follow a major trauma. Although you are not compelled to use the therapist provided, if you do use the specialist, they will be trained in dealing with the exact circumstances you are facing. Generally, you will pay somewhere around $100 per hour to speak with a therapist.
Reconstruction work is based on returning your home to the way it was before the biohazard event. This can obviously vary a great deal in terms of scope. Some of the costs are outlined below:
Odor is often one of the first things you notice about a biohazard situation. Your home won’t feel right until it smells the way it did before the event. You can expect to pay somewhere around $100 per hour for sanitization, ozone, and general deodorizing services.
Ultimately, if a biohazard event takes place, it will likely be a traumatic event. Not only is there the damage caused to your home, but there is also the fact that there is a physical danger emanating from your home. As such, it can be hard to make a rational, logical decision in the face of such trauma. Preparing mentally is critical – that way you can anticipate what is involved and ensure that you can focus on keeping yourself and your family safe.