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After the flood: safe drinking water





SOUTH DAKOTA DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
March 08, 2011
CONTACT: Bill Chalcraft, 773-3361
 
After the flood: safe drinking water
PIERRE, S.D. – Because water supplies can be contaminated in flood conditions, South Dakotans in flood-affected areas should take steps to assure safe water for drinking and cooking. If there are concerns about the safety of drinking water, bring it to a rolling boil and boil for another three minutes. Don’t boil unless the nitrate level in the water is low, as boiling concentrates nitrates. For infants, use ready to feed formula or bottled water for mixing formula. Use drinking quality water when preparing food. Clean water should be available for frequent hand washing or bathing.
Use household bleach to disinfect small quantities of water, less than 5 gallons:
  •          Place the water in a clean container and add 1/8 teaspoon of bleach per gallon.
  •          Mix thoroughly, cover the container and allow it to sit undisturbed for 30 minutes.
  •          The slight odor and taste will disappear with time. It is not harmful.
Pump out private water wells in flood areas and let them recharge naturally. Then disinfect the well and get the water tested for bacteria and nitrates before drinking or using for cooking. Water testing is available through the state’s Public Health Laboratory and will be provided free of charge for private well owners in flood-affected areas. Sample bottles and instructions are available at County Extension offices.
See http://disasterrecovery.sd.gov for more information on flood cleanup, including detailed instructions for disinfecting wells, cisterns and reservoirs.
Effectively managing public health emergencies is a key objective of the department’s Health 2020 initiative.
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