Specialist: Don’t take chances with tap water during floods

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Just because water looks crystal clear doesn’t mean it is safe to drink. That’s especially true in areas like those in Indiana that are experiencing record flooding, said Jane Frankenberger, a Purdue University Extension water quality specialist.

Tap water should be boiled for one minute at a full rolling boil.

Homeowners with wells should have the wells disinfected.

“If homeowners get their drinking water from a well and they’ve had flooding, they should assume that the water may be contaminated,” Frankenberger said. “They should boil tap water until they can be assured that the water is safe, or use bottled water.”

Wells that were constructed according to state regulations should not be flooded with contaminated water, “but I would not assume they aren’t,” Frankenberger said.

Tap water should be boiled for one minute at a full rolling boil, Frankberger said. “Homeowners with wells also should have their wells disinfected,” she said. “That can be done by any well driller or homeowners can do it themselves.”

Frankenberger also warned against playing in floodwater. “The water could very well be contaminated, which makes it a public health concern,” she said. “You don’t just have to ingest the water to get sick. Contaminants can get into your body through cuts in your skin and other ways.”

Other water safety tips in flooded areas are available in First Steps to Flood Recovery, Purdue Extension publication ACS-101.

The publication also provides information on protecting family, people with disabilities, pets and livestock; re-entering buildings; damaged food; salvaging keepsakes and furniture; replacing or cleaning appliances, carpets, floors, drywall and insulation; contacting insurance companies; and seeking government and community support.

First Steps to Flood Recovery is available at county offices of Purdue Extension, by calling the toll-free Purdue Extension hotline at 1-888-EXT-INFO (398-4636) or online at http://www.ces.purdue.edu/floodpub/index.html .

Additional online Purdue Extension flood resources include:

“The Web site has been designed to support the printed First Steps to Flood Recovery publication by offering up-to-date Web links with more information,” said Steve Cain, EDEN Homeland Security Project director. “EDEN will keep this site updated when more or new information is available.”

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