Friday 19 April 2013

What to do about Basement Flooding in your Home

Posted at 5:16 AM

With the spring weather and the melting snow, Lincoln County Health Department would like to provide residents tips on how to keep your home healthy during spring time flooding.   

Protect yourself
•    Wear boots and gloves if working in or moving items affected by the flood water.  Depending on the water depth, items stored in the basement may have floated and moved, glass items may have broken, and the water is unsafe.
•    Have your electrical utility turn off the power if the water depth has submerged appliances and you need to begin clean-up while there is substantial water present.
•    It is impossible to know the contamination that may be present in either a basement or surface water due to flooding.  People store many chemical products and the rain waters may have washed many substances into waterways.  Assume the water is not safe.
•    Using gloves and boots along with washing will lower the chance of getting hurt.

Clean up
•    To prevent mold growth, surfaces need to be dried in 48 hours.
•    Clean-up using detergent followed by a bleach solution (1/2 to 1 cup of bleach per gallon of water) may be used on hard surfaces
•    Soft items like clothing may be laundered while other items like furniture and carpeting will need professional treatment or need to be discarded.
•    Use fans and dehumidifiers to help with drying.

Well Water
•    If a well may has been affected, i.e. being under the water, do not drink the water.  Wait until the waters recede, disinfect your well, and then sample the well for bacteria.  The Health Department has well water testing kits.
•    If as a result of flood damage, a business wishes to remodel or make other changes, feel free to call us.  We can help to ensure their plans will meet the Wisconsin Food Code
Food Safety (for loss of power)
•    Freezers if unopened will keep food cold for several days without power.
•    Unopened refrigerators will keep food cold up to 6 hours as long as the food stays 40 degrees or less
•    When in doubt about the temperature of the food, it is best to discard it.
•    Commercially canned goods may be dipped in a 1-cup bleach per gallon of water solution. Home-canned goods should be discarded if they have been submerged in water.
For information on how to perform well sanitizing, visit the Department of Natural Resources web site at:

For simple instructions for safely cleaning your home after a flood, visit:


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