Oswego County Health Department Advises Residents Affected by Sandy Pond Flooding

Sandy Creek – Oswego County Public Health Director Jiancheng Huang advises residents and property owners near North and South Sandy Ponds to be aware of signs of flood damage to septic systems, wells, and homes.

General information on what to do during and following a severe weather event or power outage, and how to prepare for severe weather events and power outages, is contained in the NYS Department of Health’s publication “Don’t Be Left in the Dark.”

The booklet is available at the Sandy Creek Town Hall, and online at http://www.health.ny.gov/publications/7064.pdf  and www.oswegocounty.com

Additional emergency response information is posted online at http://www.health.ny.gov/publications/2708.pdf, http://www.health.ny.gov/publications/2752.pdf and on the Oswego County web site at www.oswegocounty.com

Huang said wells which have been covered with floodwater should be disinfected.

Residents who need information about having their well water tested should contact the Oswego County Health Department, 70 Bunner St., Oswego, at 315-349-3557 or 1-800-596-3200, ext. 3557, weekdays between 8:30 a.m. and 4 p.m.

The health department offers a walk-in sampling program where homeowners can bring a sample of water in and have it tested for coliform. There is a $10 fee.

“If the area around your well gets flooded or if you suspect that your well is contaminated, you need to disinfect the water in the well before using it for drinking, cooking, hand washing or brushing your teeth,” said Huang.

Huang and Oswego County Emergency Management Director Dale Currier offer these flood safety tips:

During a flood:

– Monitor NOAA Weather Radio and Emergency Alert System stations.

– Disconnect electric appliances that can’t be moved. Do not touch them if you are wet or standing in water.

Travel with care:

– Watch for washed out roads, broken water or sewer mains, loose or downed electrical wires, and fallen or falling objects.

– Watch out for areas where rivers or streams may suddenly flood.

– Do not attempt to drive over a flooded road or through standing water.

After a flood:

– Before entering a building, check for structural damage. Turn off any outside gas lines at meter or tank. Let the building air out to remove foul odors or escaping gas.

– Upon entering the building, use a battery powered flashlight. Do not use an open flame as a source of light. Gas may be trapped inside.

– Watch for electrical shorts and live wires before making certain the main power switch is off. Do not turn on electrical appliances until an electrician has checked the system.

– Throw out any medicine or food that has had contact with flood waters.

– Test drinking water for potability. Wells that have been covered with floodwaters should be pumped out and water tested for drinking.

– If the water system is declared unsafe by health officials, water for drinking and cooking should be boiled vigorously for one minute. In an emergency, water may be obtained from the hot water tank or by melting ice cubes.

– Shovel out mud with special attention to cleaning heating and plumbing systems.

– Flooded basements should be drained and cleaned as soon as possible. Structural damage can occur if drained too quickly. When surrounding waters have subsided, begin draining the basement in stages, about 1/3 of the water volume each day.

– Do not handle electrical equipment in wet areas. It should be dried and checked before use.

– Report broken utility lines to police, fire, or other appropriate authorities.

– If floodwaters cause an oil spill or any type of petroleum release in or near your home, contact the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation spill hotline immediately at 1-800-457-7362 to report the spill.  If oil is mixed with water that has flooded your home, do not pump the oil water out into your yard. Contact the DEC spill hotline to request assistance.

Town and county officials continue to monitor the situation closely.

Highway Superintendent Michael Kastler said roads in the area, especially ones that have had water over them, are being watched carefully.

Town residents with questions or needing assistance other than life-threatening situations may email the town supervisor at [email protected], or call the town hall at 315/387-5456, ext. 5 during business hours.

For updates, people can go to the town’s web page at www.sandycreekny.us

In an emergency, call 9-1-1.