|07-10-03: Flooding creates public health issues
|By TIMOTHY COX
The Daily Standard
Hundreds of people in the area are dealing with standing water in yards
and damp or completely flooded basements, problems that likely will persist into next
Flooding and standing water is not just annoying and costly. It creates
a number of public health concerns, said Michelle Kimmel, environmental health director of
the Mercer County Health Department.
Parents should keep children from splashing in standing water, Kimmel
"It's important to not view standing water as something to play
in," she said.
The risks of frolicking in storm water include underwater currents that
could sweep a child away and possible bacteria and other pathogens in the water.
Also, residents who have private wells for drinking water should take
precautions before using water from a submerged well. Water should be boiled or treated
with three drops of bleach per gallon before it is used from a submerged well, she said.
After the water subsides, the well should be properly disinfected
before returning to normal use, Kimmel said.
Another key concern about all the standing water will be the explosion
of mosquito populations and the threat of West Nile virus.
"I'm positive we're going to have problems," Kimmel said.
Mosquito larva already can be seen in standing water, she said. If the
water dries up within four days or so of the larva appearing, the mosquitoes will not
develop into adults. If the water remains longer than that, mosquitoes stand to become a
real problem, Kimmel said.
Wet basements also can be a health problem. Basements should be
scrubbed and soaked carpet removed, Kimmel said.
People doing heavy-duty removal of material from basements also should
get a tetanus shot if they have not had one in recent years, Kimmel said.
Information on properly cleaning basements or disinfecting water wells
can be picked up at the health department offices in the Central Services Building on West
Livingston Street in Celina.
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