After the flood: think while you clean

By Anna Yee

April 24, 2013 Updated Apr 25, 2013 at 9:48 AM CDT

CENTRAL ILLINOIS -- The Environmental Protection Agency is warning you to dispose flood waste properly.

That includes sandbags that have contacted flood water.

Also, throw out belongings harboring mold if they're not able to be cleaned and dried within 24 to 48 hours.

Keep in mind not all electronics and appliances are accepted in landfills.

An Illinois American Water spokesperson assured that the company's drinking water is tested at every stage of the treatment process and meets EPA standards.

However, the Tazewell County Health Department is urging residents to get their well water tested and drink bottled water in the meantime.

Contact your local health department to obtain a free well water testing kit.

Sara Sparkman says those cleaning up should be mindful of cuts and wounds and stay up-to-date on tetanus shots, otherwise stay out of the water.

"We've seen some pictures with children in the water," said Sparkman, communications manager for the Tazewell Co. Health Dept. "Please try to keep your children out of the water. I know it looks like fun, but it unfortunately won't be if they get in contact with some sort of bacteria."

Health and safety officials also warn to be on the lookout for "floodwater" mosquitoes.

They're not the ones that carry West Nile Virus, but they can be vicious biters.  

Lastly, as you clean up, document all of your expenses, receipts, damage photos, etc.

Governor Quinn says it will help flood victims with their insurance claims and will assist counties as they work on their applications to the federal government for disaster relief.

For a detailed list of flood cleanup information and tips, visit http://www.epa.state.il.us/community-relations/fact-sheets/flood-cleanup/index.pdf

For even more tips for before, during, and after flooding, head to http://epa.gov/naturaldisasters/flooding.html.

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