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Sewage and septic precautions following Hurricane Michael


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NORTHWEST Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - General precautions:

-Do not let children play in flood waters as these waters may be contaminated by sewage.
-If you live in a low-lying or flood-prone area, the ground in your area may be saturated from heavy rainfalls or flooding from the hurricane. You should use household water as little as possible to prevent backup of sewage into your home

What should I do if sewage backs up into my home?

-If a sewage backup has occurred in your home, stay out of affected areas and keep children away. If your entire home has been saturated, evacuate the home until all affected areas, including but not limited to carpets, rugs, drywall, and baseboards, have been thoroughly cleaned and disinfected.
-If sewage has overflowed in open areas or streets, etc., avoid these areas and especially do not let children play in these areas.
-If you are having problems in areas served by public sewer systems, please contact your utility company to insure they are aware of problems in your area.

How to clean up sewage contaminated items and sewage spills inside your home:

-Wear protective clothing such as rubber boots and waterproof gloves.
-Clean walls, hard-surfaced floors, and other household surfaces with soap and water and disinfect with a solution of 1/4 cup of bleach in one gallon of water. Once cleanup is complete, dry out affected items to prevent the growth of mold. 
-Do not mix ammonia cleansers with bleach as toxic vapors will form.
-Wash all linens and clothing in hot water or dry clean them.
-Discard Items that cannot be washed or dry cleaned, such as mattresses, carpeting, wall coverings and upholstered furniture.

For spills outside your home:

-Contact your utility or a registered septic tank contractor for clean up. 
-Minor spills requiring immediate attention may be disinfected with regular garden lime from a garden shop. Follow the lime container’s label instructions for personal protective equipment needed. Use lime outdoors only.

Follow proper hygiene procedures to prevent illness:

-Keep hands and fingers away from the nose, mouth, eyes and ears.
-Wash hands with soap and water immediately after cleanup efforts as well as before eating or drinking.
-Keep fingernails short and clean. Use a stiff brush to remove dirt and foreign materials.
-Do not store fresh work clothes with used work clothes.
-Shower as soon as possible after cleaning up sewage or sewage contaminated flood waters.

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