October 28th, 2020

Overland flooding can cause water contamination


By Jensen, Randy on July 3, 2020.

LETHBRIDGE HERALD

Alberta Health Services says overland flooding from recent heavy rains is occurring in many areas of southern Alberta, putting private water supplies at risk for contamination and presenting other potential hazards.

Standing or fast-moving flood water can contain a number of risks that might affect your health. Some concerns with floodwater include: the presence of raw sewage; chemical contaminants; debris; openings in the ground that are not visible; and other unseen hazards. Remember the following when dealing with flooding in your community:

– Do not attempt to enter fast-moving water or storm water overflow ponds. There is a severe life and safety issue with entering such water. Floodwater should not be used for recreational purposes;

– Do not drink or use any water well or cistern that has been contaminated with floodwater. Your drinking water sources might need to be filtered and tested before consumption can resume;

– Be aware that surface bodies of water (irrigation canals, dugouts and ponds) may have become contaminated with floodwater. Always use precautions when using these water sources for drinking, cooking, bathing or recreational purposes;

– Do not drink or come into contact with floodwater. Many disease-causing organisms, such as E. coli, might be present;

– Wash your hands with soap and a clean source of warm water after contact with floodwater or handling items that have come into contact with floodwater; and

– If you become ill with vomiting or diarrhea after contact with floodwater, contact Health Link 811 or your family doctor.

For comprehensive information about what you can do during and after flooding, visit http://www.albertahealthservices.ca/flood. For information about having your well water tested, visit http://www.albertahealthservices.ca/eph/Page8294.aspx.

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