We deal with odour nuisances, garden bonfires, filthy and verminous premises, welfare burials and a range of matters which may affect the health and well-being of the local population.
For information on Air and Land Pollution or drainage and other maintenance problems, please visit our Environment section.
Flood Clean Up Information
The flood water affecting your home or other property may have been contaminated with sewage and other contaminants. Although this would be very diluted and present a low risk there are a few precautions when dealing with the problem as below:
Cleaning up the House After the Flood
Cover open cuts and wounds on exposed skin with a waterproof plaster, wear rubber gloves.
Remove all soft furnishings and fittings that are damaged beyond repair.
Remove all dirty water and silt from the property as much as possible, including out of the space under downstairs floorboards if you have these. This may require pumping out. Turn off power supply before attempting to lift floorboards.
Wash down all hard surfaces with hot soapy water several times until visually clean.
Use a domestic disinfectant, following manufacturers directions as to concentrations, to wash over all hard surfaces after cleaning.
Food preparation surfaces and storage cupboards, refrigerators etc should be washed down with food safe disinfectants such as Milton, Dettox or similar.
Allow to thoroughly dry - this will also help to destroy any germs left behind.
Heating and good ventilation will assist the drying process.
Clothing and Bedding.
Bedding and other soft/fabric articles including children's toys etc should be laundered on a hot wash (60°C and above) which will destroy any germs that may be present. Other soft furnishings that have been contaminated and cannot be put in a washing machine will have to be professionally cleaned or if this is not possible may have to be disposed of.
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If flood water contained oil, diesel etc this should in the main be removed with the flood water and silt.
Any remaining oil, diesel etc contamination in accessible areas can be removed by using a detergent solution and washing the surface down after initial cleaning has been carried out. In inaccessible areas such as under floorboards it may present an odour problem but is not necessarily a health hazard. Further advice should be sought from Environmental Health if the odour persists or if you are particularly concerned about it for other reasons.
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Returning to your Home
It is recommended that you only fully re-occupy your home once the above cleaning has been carried out. There may be additional works to be carried out eventually as advised by your insurance company, housing officer, landlord, builder etc. If you decide to return to your home before this further work is completed you should:-
Try to have some heating on at all times, consider the use of a dehumidifier.
Ensure the property is well ventilated. Leave windows open as much as possible. Remember security though!
Ensure that if you have air bricks to any under floor spaces that these are unblocked to give cross ventilation to these areas.
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Food Preparation and Storage
Ensure all surfaces that food will come into contact with are sound and disinfected as above. If work tops and other areas show signs of damage avoid food contact with these areas. Particularly make sure that shelves including in your refrigerator and where food is stored are cleaned and disinfected.
Try to keep any opened food in an enclosed box or tin.
All crockery, pots and pans should be thoroughly washed with very hot soapy water before using. If any of these are badly chipped or damaged do not use. You could also use a food safe disinfectant eg. Milton to sanitise them after cleaning. Follow the instructions carefully.
Ensure the water taps are cleaned and disinfected before using them for the first time.
Take particular care in preparing food, always wash your hands before starting.
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Other Health Issues
If you follow the basic advice above you should not experience any additional health problems. It is possible that the 'stress' caused by the incident may well make you feel unwell in some way. This does not necessarily mean that your are suffering from any infection or disease. However, if you are concerned - visit your own Doctor, who can also arrange counselling for you. (Nottinghamshire County Council Social Services can also assist with requests for counselling).
While in the property floorboards, walls etc will continue to dry out. Any loose material and dust resulting from this should be vacuumed up on a regular basis.
Very young children should avoid playing directly on timber floorboards or any damaged tiled floors if possible, be aware of the risk of injury from sharp edges on tiles or raised nails in the floorboards until these have been repaired.
Help for vulnerable and elderly people returning to their houses is available from Nottinghamshire Social Services Services Dept.
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Do wash your hands properly if you have been in contact with flood water or silt. Take particular care when preparing or eating food.
Contact your insurance company (if relevant) and make an inventory list of all damaged goods, including food. If you can, take photographic or video pictures.
Put contaminated flood damaged food in black plastic refuse sacks, seal and put out when your next refuse collection is due. Check with insurers before disposal.
If you accidentally ingest (swallow) mud or contaminated water and you become ill contact your doctor and tell him your house was flooded.
Replace manhole covers dislodged by the flood.
! DON'T be tempted to try and salvage damaged food - including tins, jars and packets as they may be contaminated with sewage or chemicals left from the flood water.
! Don't switch on electrical appliances which have been in contact with the flood water unless a competent electrician has checked them. East Midlands Electricity will be checking mains supplies .
! Don't eat garden or allotment vegetables that have been covered by flood water. Leave undamaged vegetables in the ground for at least another 2 weeks and then only use them after thorough washing and cooking.
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Additional Repair Works
Eventually other necessary works may have been identified by your insurers, builders etc. These will possibly be carried out after the property has substantially dried out. However if plaster walls and partitions have been affected badly and do not dry out in a sound condition the plaster and boards affected will have to be removed, walls dried out and re-plastered. Otherwise redecoration of sound walls is all that will be necessary.
Any areas showing signs of mould should be treated - fungicidal products are available from DIY Stores.
After about six months it would be advisable to check timber floors for any evidence of rot or shrinkage. Any necessary repair work can then be made.
Fitted units, particularly in the kitchen, made of chipboard may not dry out well and will become damaged by absorbed water. Sanitization of these is difficult and therefore may have to be eventually replaced.
Check for structural damage to your property and if you think there is damage or danger seek advice from your insurers and/or builder. Any confirmed or suspected dangerous structures should be reported to Building Control.
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Page Last Updated: 20/09/2011