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Flood Water May be Dangerous, How to Clean Up Properly

The Monmouth County Health Department is concerned because flood water is unsafe and may contain gasoline, oil, or sewage.

The Monmouth County Health Department has issued recommendations to those who have experienced flooding due to Hurricane Sandy. A heavy amount of coastal and inland flooding was experienced in Monmouth County and it may be unsafe and may contain sewage, gasoline, and oil.

“The ocean surge and flood waters caused by the hurricane are impacting Monmouth County residents greatly,” Freeholder Director John P. Curley said. “This water has created special challenges with cleanup efforts; so be sure to take the proper precautions to protect yourself and your loved ones.”

The Monmouth County Health Department is concerned because flood water is unsafe and may contain gasoline, oil or sewage.

The Centers of Disease Control (CDC) recommended the following steps for cleaning up of flood waters:

Inside Home

  • Wear rubber boots, rubber gloves, and goggles during cleanup of affected area.
  • Remove and discard items that cannot be washed and disinfected (such as, mattresses, carpeting, carpet padding, rugs, upholstered furniture, cosmetics, stuffed animals, baby toys, pillows, foam-rubber items, books, wall coverings, and most paper products).
  • Remove and discard drywall and insulation that has been contaminated with sewage or flood waters.
  • Thoroughly clean all hard surfaces (such as flooring, concrete, molding, wood and metal furniture, countertops, appliances, sinks, and other plumbing fixtures) with hot water and laundry or dish detergent.
  • Help the drying process by using fans, air conditioning units, and dehumidifiers.
  • After completing the cleanup, wash your hands with soap and warm water. Use water that has been brought to a one-minute rolling boil (allow the water to cool before washing your hands). Or, you may use water that has been disinfected for personal hygiene use (solution of ⅛ teaspoon [~ 0.75 milliliters] of household bleach per 1 gallon of water). Let it stand for 30 minutes. If the water is cloudy, use a solution of ¼ teaspoon (~ 1.5 milliliters) of household bleach per 1 gallon of water.
  • Wash all clothes worn during the cleanup in hot water and detergent. These clothes should be washed separately from uncontaminated clothes and linens.
  • Wash clothes contaminated with flood water or sewage in hot water and detergent. It is recommended that a laundry be used for washing large quantities of clothes and linens until your onsite wastewater system has been professionally inspected and serviced. 
  • Seek immediate medical attention if you become injured or ill.


Outside Home

  • Keep children and pets out of the affected area until cleanup has been completed.
  • Wear rubber boots, rubber gloves and goggles during cleanup of affected area.
  • Have your onsite wastewater system professionally inspected and serviced if you suspect damage.
  • Wash all clothes worn during the cleanup in hot water and detergent. These clothes should be washed separately from uncontaminated clothes and linens.
  • After completing the cleanup, wash your hands with soap and warm water. Use water that has been brought to a one-minute rolling boil (allow the water to cool before washing your hands).
  • Or, you may use water that has been disinfected for personal hygiene use (solution of ⅛ teaspoon [~ 0.75 milliliters] of household bleach per 1 gallon of water). Let it stand for 30 minutes. If the water is cloudy, use solution of ¼ teaspoon ( ~1.5 milliliters) of household bleach per 1 gallon of water.
  • Seek immediate medical attention if you become injured or ill.

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