Flood water may not be safe water Precautions for septic systems and potential sewage in water

RALEIGH

When returning to your home after a hurricane or flood, be aware that flood water may contain sewage. Protect yourself and your family by following these steps:

Inside the Home

  • Keep children and pets out of the affected area until cleanup has been completed.
  • Wear rubber boots, rubber gloves and goggles during cleanup of affected area.
  • Remove and discard items that cannot be washed and disinfected (such as mattresses, carpeting, carpet padding, rugs, upholstered furniture, cosmetics, stuffed animals, baby toys, pillows, foam-rubber items, books, wall coverings and most paper products).
  • Remove and discard drywall and insulation that has been contaminated with sewage or flood waters.
  • Thoroughly clean all hard surfaces (such as flooring, concrete, molding, wood and metal furniture, countertops, appliances, sinks and other plumbing fixtures) with hot water and laundry or dish detergent.
  • Help the drying process by using fans, air conditioning units and dehumidifiers.
  • After completing the cleanup, wash your hands with soap and warm water. Use water that has been boiled for 1 minute (allow the water to cool before washing your hands).
  • Or you may use water that has been disinfected for personal hygiene use (solution of ⅛ teaspoon [~0.75 milliliters] of household bleach per 1 gallon of water). Let it stand for 30 minutes. If the water is cloudy, use a solution of ¼ teaspoon (~1.5 milliliters) of household bleach per 1 gallon of water.
  • Wash all clothes worn during the cleanup in hot water and detergent. These clothes should be washed separately from uncontaminated clothes and linens.
  • Wash clothes contaminated with flood or sewage water in hot water and detergent. It is recommended that a laundromat be used for washing large quantities of clothes and linens until your onsite waste-water system has been professionally inspected and serviced.
  • Seek immediate medical attention if you become injured or ill.
  • See also:


Outside the Home

  • Keep children and pets out of the affected area until cleanup has been completed.
  • Wear rubber boots, rubber gloves and goggles during cleanup of affected area.
  • Have your onsite waste-water system professionally inspected and serviced if you suspect damage.
  • Wash all clothes worn during the cleanup in hot water and detergent. These clothes should be washed separately from uncontaminated clothes and linens.
  • After completing the cleanup, wash your hands with soap and warm water. Use water that has been boiled for 1 minute (allow the water to cool before washing your hands).
  • Or you may use water that has been disinfected for personal hygiene use (solution of ⅛ teaspoon [~0.75 milliliters] of household bleach per 1 gallon of water). Let it stand for 30 minutes. If the water is cloudy, use solution of ¼ teaspoon (~1.5 milliliters) of household bleach per 1 gallon of water.
  • Seek immediate medical attention if you become injured or ill.

 

SEPTIC systems:

http://www.cdc.gov/healthywater/emergency/sanitation-wastewater/septic.html

  • CAUTION: Do not drink well water until you know it is safe. Use a safe water supply like bottled or treated water (learn how to make water safe (http://www.cdc.gov/healthywater/emergency/drinking/making-water-safe.html)).
  • Be aware that flood water may contain sewage. For more information about how to protect yourself and your family, visit CDC’s After a Hurricane or Flood: Cleanup of Flood Water.
  • Precautions related to septic systems include:
    • Avoid contact with any septic system electrical devices until they are dry and clean.
    • Do not pump out the septic tank more than halfway or the tank may float out of the ground.
    • Reduce all nonessential water use (for example, dishwashing, washing clothes, showering).
    • Flush toilets as little as possible or use a temporary toilet.
    • If you suspect septic system damage, get the system professionally inspected and serviced. Contact your health department for a list of septic system contractors who work in your area.

 

Cleaning up floodwater:

http://www.cdc.gov/disasters/floods/cleanupwater.html

Wash clothes contaminated with flood or sewage water in hot water and detergent. It is recommended that a laundromat be used for washing large quantities of clothes and linens until your onsite waste-water system has been professionally inspected and serviced.

Additional resource: http://nasdonline.org/1970/d001564/flooded-private-sewage-systems-safety-sanitation-and-clean.html

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