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News Release

Protect yourself during flood conditions

Apr 22, 2013
The Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit is advising residents experiencing flooding to take precautions to protect their health.

SIMCOE MUSKOKA – The Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit is advising residents experiencing flooding to take precautions to protect their health.

Floodwaters in Muskoka have begun to make their way through the watershed into Severn and Ramara townships. Flooding could potentially contaminate water in drilled or dug wells, allowing harmful bacteria into private drinking supplies. 

If a well is surrounded by flood water, it is at risk of contamination. Water that has pooled over a septic field may also cause backflow of sewage into your home.

For those with possibly affected wells, until you can get your well water tested, use bottled water for drinking, making infant formula, juices, cooking, making ice, washing fruits and vegetables or brushing teeth. Boiling your water rapidly for at least one minute is also an effective means of dealing with contamination by harmful organisms.

Homeowners should also be aware that food items that have been in contact with flood water need to be thrown out. Canned goods remain safe but the outside of cans must be thoroughly washed and disinfected before being opened.

In the event of power failures, food in refrigerators or freezers will keep for limited lengths of time.

A refrigerator will keep foods cool for 4 to 6 hours without power. Dispose of all foods which have been above 4 C (40 F) for more than 2 hours, including:

  • fish, poultry and meats, including cold cuts
  • eggs, milk and cheese and other dairy products
  • soups, stews, casseroles
  • any food that may have come in contact with meat juices.

If your chest freezer is full, foods inside should remain safely frozen for up to 48 hours after a power failure. If your freezer is half full, foods inside should remain safely frozen for 24 hours after a power failure. Any foods that are thawed should be thrown out, and if in doubt - throw it out!

Both Severn and Ramara Townships are providing information on current

conditions and road closures on their websites, at www.townshipofsevern.com and www.ramara.ca

For more guidance on clean up after a flood, dealing with well water contamination or other issues related to flooding conditions, you can visit the website of the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit at www.simcoemuskokahealth.org or call Your Health Connection at 705 721-7520 or 1-877-721-7520 Monday to Friday, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

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