The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, April 2, 2010

Advice for dealing with a flood

The Board of Health would like to remind residents that if they have any concerns that their septic systems or wells were impacted by flooding during the last storm, contact the board for assistance at 1-978-369-0283.

Minimize water use

As a general rule, septic systems should be used sparingly after a flood. Drain fields may not work until ground water has receded. Limit the amount of laundry done and dishwasher usage until the ground has had a chance to dry out. Most systems will recover after flooding if given sufficient time and decreased use. If you think a septic line or component has been damaged or if your system does not seem to be working properly, contact the Board of Health for emergency repair information.

Check wells

Wells can become contaminated with bacteria or other contaminants as a result of the speed and direction of groundwater flow. If in doubt about your well water supply, consider having the water tested. Pumps and their electrical components can be damaged by sediment and flood water. Get assistance from a well or pump contractor if you experience any problems.

Clean flooded basements

To clean up a flooded basement or room remove and discard items that cannot be washed and disinfected (such as mattresses, carpeting, carpet padding, and paper products. Remove and discard drywall and insulation that has been contaminated with sewage or flood waters. Thoroughly clean all hard surfaces with hot water and laundry or dish detergent.

Prevent mold

Additionally you may want to avoid mold growth by following these simple steps: Stagnant water and moisture promotes mold growth. Remove the accumulated flood water and disinfect the area within 24 to 48 hours. After the water is pumped out, all flooded floor and wall surfaces should be washed with a sanitizer solution.

Sanitizer solution can be simply mixed by using two (2) capfuls of household bleach for each one (1) gallon of water. Remember to always wear waterproof/ chemical resistant (latex or nitrile) gloves and safety glasses when using sanitizer. Never mix bleach with ammonia or other household cleaners. Mixing bleach with other cleaners will produce dangerous, toxic fumes. Open windows or use fans if necessary to dry out the flooded area after it has been sanitized.

When in doubt, throw it out. Porous non-cleanable items include carpeting, carpet padding, upholstery, wallpaper, drywall, floor and ceiling tiles, insulation material, some clothing, leather, paper, wood and food. Removal and cleaning are important because even dead mold may cause an allergic reaction in some people.

Document the damage

If your home has suffered damage, take pictures/video of the damage, both to the house and its contents, for insurance or disaster claims.

Additional information is available on the Board of Health website www.carlislema.gov. ∆


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