With flood-like conditions this past weekend (and possible in the coming days) in low-lying areas, Norfolk County and the Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit are advising residents to take precautions to keep their families and property safe.
Stay out of floodwaters: Obey road closure signs, and do not walk or drive through floodwaters, as they can be deeper than they appear. Water levels can rise quickly, so exercise extreme caution when travelling along the Lake Erie shore. Driving through flooded streets also creates a wake that can cause issues for adjacent homes and businesses.
Protect your drinking water: If you believe your well or cistern has been affected by flood waters, you should have your water tested for bacteria before resuming normal use. Contaminated water should not be used for drinking, food preparation, washing dishes, brushing teeth, making ice or baby formula.
The Health Unit provides free water testing to check for bacteria such as E. coli and total coliforms. Water sample bottles can be picked up at any Health Unit office or the Langton Administration Building. Samples can be dropped off at any Health Unit office or the Langton Administration Building.
Monitor septic systems: Under flood-like conditions, Norfolk County’s Building Department recommends that those with holding tanks and tile beds monitor their property for signs of malfunction. Visible damage in or around the tank or tile bed as well as odours in the area or home and an unusual colour of ponding water could be signs of a malfunctioning septic system. Holding and septic tanks may continue to be pumped out as necessary, however, under flood-like conditions, caution should be taken to ensure the tank is not emptied too much, making it prone to float and break drain lines due to high groundwater levels.
Don’t use a generator in the house: Using a generator – or charcoal grill, camp stove or other gasoline or charcoal-burning device – inside your home can cause a buildup of carbon monoxide. If you suspect carbon monoxide in your home, seek fresh air and contact a healthcare provider immediately.
Mould: If mould is found in your home, be sure to wear protective equipment – including rubber gloves, protective glasses and an N95 mask – when cleaning it up. Smaller patches of mould (one square-metre or less) can be removed by washing with soap and water and ensuring surfaces dry completely. A professional should be consulted for larger mould damage. Some materials such as mouldy clothing, ceiling tiles and sheet rock may have to be replaced.
Stay informed: Listen to local radio and news stations to keep up to date on the situation. Stay prepared by monitoring flood forecasts and warnings posted by the Long Point Region Conservation Authority.