Flood Water May Contain Sewage: Take Precautions

For Immediate Release: June 1, 2011
Media Contact: Communication Office
Vermont Department of Health
802-863-7281

BURLINGTON - Flood water may be contaminated with sewage or other hazards, so everyone in a flooded area should take precautions to avoid exposure, especially during cleanup. You can be exposed to sewage through hand-to-mouth contact such as eating or drinking, or through cuts, scratches or wounds, or by wiping your face or eyes with contaminated hands or gloves.

If there has been a backflow of sewage into your home or on your property, it is best to have a professional handle the cleanup. Raw sewage can contain bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites that can cause serious illness. For any cleanup of flood water that may contain sewage, take the following precautions to prevent illness. For most purposes, use a disinfectant solution of no more than ½ cup bleach to 1 gallon of water.

For more extensive health information related to flooding, including food and drinking water safety, go to the Health Department website at healthvermont.gov OR dial 2-1-1. Report property damage related to flooding to 2-1-1.

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