FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: July 12, 2005
Contact: Lindsay Hodges (850) 245-4111
**HURRICANE DENNIS INFORMATION SHEET **
Hurricanes can Cause Problems with Sewage Systems
TALLAHASSEE – Following the passage of the hurricane, you
may be experiencing difficulties with your sewage system not
functioning properly. If you have a septic system that
operates by a dosing pump, it will not function without
electricity. You should refrain from using water in your
home as much as possible until electricity is restored.
Without the pump working, the tanks will fill and may cause
backups of sewage in your home.
- Do not let children play in flood
waters as these waters may be contaminated by sewage.
- If you live in a low-lying or flood-prone area, the
ground in your area may be saturated from heavy rainfalls or
flooding from the hurricane. You should use household water
as little as possible to prevent backups of sewage into your
What should I do if sewage backs up?
- If a sewage backup
has occurred in your home, stay out of affected areas and
keep children away. If your entire home has been saturated,
abandon the home until all affected areas, including but not
limited to carpets, rugs, sheetrock, drywall, and
baseboards, have been thoroughly cleaned and disinfected.
- If sewage has overflowed in open areas or streets,
etc., avoid these areas and keep children out of these
- If you are having problems in areas served by sewer
systems, please contact your utility company to insure they
are aware of problems in your area.
PROPER SEWAGE CLEAN UP PROCEDURES
Heavy rainfall from hurricanes may result in flood waters
that are contaminated with sewage. Proper cleaning and
disinfecting procedures are recommended to prevent illness.
How to clean up sewage contaminated items and sewage
spills inside your home:
- Wear protective clothing such as rubber boots and
- Clean walls, hard-surfaced floors, and
other household surfaces with soap and water and disinfect
with a solution of 1/4 cup of bleach in one gallon of water.
Once cleanup is complete dry out affected items to prevent
the growth of mold.
- Do not mix ammonia cleansers with
bleach as toxic vapors will form.
- Wash all linens and
clothing in hot water or dry clean them.
- Discard Items
that cannot be washed or dry cleaned, such as mattresses,
carpeting, wall coverings and upholstered furniture.
For spills outside your home:
- Contact your utility or a registered septic tank
contractor for clean up.
- Minor spills requiring immediate
attention may be disinfected with regular garden lime from a
garden shop. Follow the lime container’s label instructions
for personal protective equipment needed.
- Sprinkle the
lime onto the spill so the spill is dusted mostly white on
the surface. If the residue is thicker in some places use a
rake to mix the lime and the residue.
- After a day, rake up
the thicker residue and place it in a trash bag for disposal
with the other trash. Use a sprinkler or hose to water the
lime and residue into the soil.
- Let the area dry in the
sun a day before allowing access. If there is still white
lime dust visible on the yard, water it in until the white
dust is gone.
Follow proper hygiene procedures to prevent illness:
Keep hands and fingers away from the nose, mouth, eyes and
- Wash hands with soap and water immediately after
cleanup efforts as well as before eating or drinking.
fingernails short and clean. Use a stiff brush to remove
dirt and foreign materials.
- Do not store fresh work
clothes with used work clothes.
- Shower after each work
For further information, please contact your local county
health department or visit
The Florida Emergency Information Line: 1-800-342-3557