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

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)

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.

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.

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.

Mold Growth & Cleanup

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.


For more information on flooding health and safety concerns, testing your well water, more specific guidelines for clean-up of your home and property, and disinfection of your well after a flood, please contact Columbia County Division of Health (608)742-9227.