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Health Impacts of Hurricane Clean-Up

Local pol Judy Myers sent us this advice from the Westchester Health Department:

HEALTH ADVICE FOR RESIDENTS AS THEY CLEAN UP
Private wells in flooded areas should be tested

The Westchester County Department of Health is alerting residents with private wells whose properties were flooded to either boil their water before consumption or to use bottled water as a precautionary measure since sewage and other harmful contaminants can be washed into private wells by storm waters. Residents should have their water tested if it is evident that their well cap was submerged.

“Until well water is either disinfected or confirmed to be safe, residents and food service businesses with private wells should boil their water at a rolling boil for a minimum of one minute prior to drinking it or using to prepare food, wash dishes by hand or brush teeth," said Westchester County Health Commissioner Sherlita Amler, MD. Amler said dishwashers can be used as usual and well water can be used without boiling to wash clothes.

Residents should contact a well professional for help in dealing with the impacts of flood water on their water quality and well system. Instructions on how to disinfect wells, storage tanks and house piping can be found on www.westchestergov.com/health.

The Health Department also cautions those who handle the cleanup of flood waters and mud that both may contain sewage and/or other contaminants. Heavy work gloves, long sleeved shirts, pants and boots should be worn during cleanup to avoid direct contact with the skin.

After a power failure, frozen foods that are hard and still contain ice crystals are safe to cook or refreeze.  Frozen foods that have thawed should be cooked and consumed immediately, or discarded.  Foods that have warmed to room temperature for more than two hours should be discarded.

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