Flood Health & Safety Information

Flood Health & Safety

Residents who have had problems with flooding need to be concerned about the following areas: water safety; food safety; protection against tetanus; human waste precautions; injury prevention; and the prevention of future mold growth.

Water Safety

  • If in doubt about your well water, if it is cloudy, discolored, or has an odor, or if flood water has covered your casing and well cap, DO NOT DRINK THE WATER.
  • Do not use contaminated water to brush teeth, wash dishes, prepare food, make ice, bathe infants, or wash open wounds.
  • Do not let children play in ditches and gutters, the water is probably contaminated.
  • Use bottled water or disinfect the water by boiling for 5 minutes or adding household bleach (4-6%): ¼ teaspoon per gallon of water; shake and let stand for 30 minutes.
  • Test your well water and/or disinfect your well.

Food Safety

  • Discard any food: if in doubt about safety, if food has come into contact with flood water, or if your freezer or refrigerator has been without power for a period of time.
  • For infants, use only pre-prepared canned formula.

Protection Against Tetanus

  • The tetanus organism is widespread in the environment, especially in soil. Tetanus immunizations are recommended every 10 years.
  • Call the Columbia County Division of Health for information on this free vaccine (608-742-9227)

Human Waste

  • If sewage disposal systems are not working, use portable toilets.
  • Minimize water use to help overtaxed sewer systems.
  • Sewage may back flow through floor drains into your basement. These areas must be disinfected with a chlorine solution.
  • Septic Systems - What to Do after the Flood

Injury Prevention

  • Electrical safety: contact your utility regarding power outage and restoring power and do not enter a basement with standing water, unless the power has been shut off.
  • Appliances: if exposed to water, have an electrician determine if they can be safely used.
  • Avoid wading in water without proper foot protection; wear proper eyewear, gloves, and other protective equipment when cleaning.
  • Insects: wear repellent when out of doors; remove standing water from tires, pails, cans, and any container on your property.
  • Beware of: wild animals such as raccoons and skunks; dogs and cats that you do not know; or animals that may have entered your home, garage, or other buildings, if you had to evacuate.

Mold Growth & Cleanup