Cleaning Up After Flood and Sewer Overflows
Flood waters and sewer overflows can contain bacteria, fecal material, viruses and other organisms that may cause disease. After flood waters and/or sewer overflows are gone, follow the information below to protect your health and prevent disease.
These basic precautions can help to prevent disease:
Take the following precautions to prevent injury:
The following cleaning guidelines may help prevent the transmission of disease and reduce property loss:
Carpets and Rugs
Carpets and rugs that cannot be thoroughly dried and cleaned should be discarded and replaced. If the damaged area is small, you may be able to save the carpet by cleaning the area with a mild detergent. There also are professional home cleaning services that may be able to clean your carpets.
Floors, Drapes, and Furniture
Floors and hard surfaces should be cleaned with a bleach and water solution made of no more than one cup of bleach per one gallon of water, or use a household disinfectant. A professional cleaner may be able to clean furniture and drapes.
Pump out standing water and remove all debris. Wait to pump until flood waters have receded below basement level. Allow debris to drain before disposal. Strain away all liquids from the trash. After straining trash, wrap in newspaper and store in tight-lid garbage cans until pick up. Paneling and wallboard must be immediately cleaned and dried thoroughly. If the damage is severe, they should be removed and replaced.
Food and Water Safety
Use only bottled or disinfected water for drinking, cooking, tooth brushing, and bathing until you are sure the water supply is safe. Discard food exposed to contaminated waters. If refrigerators or freezers have taken in water, discard food stored there. If no water entered these appliances, but power was lost long enough for foods to thaw, discard all partially thawed foods unless prepared immediately. Discard milk, cheeses, and other foods prone to spoilage. Completely thawed meats and vegetables should be discarded without question. Discard all bulging or leaking canned food and any food stored in jars. Undented, intact cans can be cleaned with a bleach solution before use.
Where Can I Get More Information?
Illinois Department of Public Health
This fact sheet was supported in part by funds from the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act trust fund through a cooperative agreement with the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
|Illinois Department of Public Health
535 West Jefferson Street
Springfield, Illinois 62761
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