Health unit of­fers flood clean-up ad­vice

The Sudbury Star - - LOCAL - STAR STAFF [email protected]­media.ca Twit­ter: @Sud­buryS­tar

With warm­ing weather con­di­tions, lo­cal­ized flood­ing from melt­wa­ter and pre­cip­i­ta­tion is a po­ten­tial risk for homes.

If your home is in an area that may be flooded, keep your emer­gency kit close at hand and pre­pare ahead of time for any po­ten­tial flood­ing. Move valu­ables to a safe lo­ca­tion if you are con­cerned about flood­ing.

If you do ex­pe­ri­ence flood­ing, Pub­lic Health Sud­bury and Dis­tricts has the fol­low­ing clean-up tips:

Con­tact your insurance com­pany.

Do not go into flooded base­ments or rooms where elec­tri­cal pan­els or fix­tures may be af­fected by the wa­ter. Do not at­tempt to shut off elec­tric­ity if any wa­ter is present.

Take the ap­pro­pri­ate safety mea­sures when deal­ing with flood­ing to pre­vent ill­ness and in­jury to your­self and others.

Re­store your home to good or­der as soon as pos­si­ble to pro­tect your health and pre­vent fur­ther dam­age to the house and its con­tents.

If a food stor­age area is flooded, only un­dam­aged, com­mer­cially-pre­pared foods in sealed, un­opened, air­tight, wa­ter­proof cans, jars or wa­ter­proof pouches are en­tirely safe to use; how­ever, these items must be care­fully in­spected, cleaned and dis­in­fected be­fore use.

Keep in mind that food con­tam­i­nated with bac­te­ria might not look or smell spoiled; when in doubt, throw it out

Im­por­tant pre­cau­tions need to be taken if a pri­vate well might be con­tam­i­nated. In the short-term, to make it safe, wa­ter should be brought to a rolling boil for at least one minute be­fore us­ing it for drink­ing; brush­ing teeth; mak­ing in­fant for­mula, juices and ice; and wash­ing foods such as fruit and veg­eta­bles that will be eaten raw.

Once the flood re­cedes, wells should be dis­in­fected with bleach. Well wa­ter can be used with­out boil­ing once the well has been dis­in­fected and two con­sec­u­tive, sat­is­fac­tory lab­o­ra­tory test re­sults are re­ceived for the well wa­ter.

Sep­tic sys­tems do not work prop­erly when the area is flooded or the ground is sat­u­rated with wa­ter. Sep­tic sys­tems should not be used if this is the case. The power to any pumps or other elec­tri­cal equip­ment should be dis­con­nected. Silt should be pre­vented from en­ter­ing the pump cham­ber and sep­tic tank.

Af­ter the flood­wa­ter re­cedes and the soil is no longer sat­u­rated, the sep­tic tank should be pumped. Pump cham­bers and elec­tri­cal con­nec­tions should be checked be­fore us­ing the sys­tem.

Flood­ing will not nor­mally harm a sep­tic sys­tem, but if dam­age to the tank or bed is sus­pected, a li­censed sep­tic in­staller should be con­tacted.

If you have ques­tions about food safety or clean­ing up af­ter a flood and would like to speak with a pub­lic health in­spec­tor, call PHSD at 705-522-9200 ext. 398 or visit phsd.ca.

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