Montana agencies issue precautions for potential flooding

With the potential for flooding this spring in Montana, the Departments of Environmental Quality, Natural Resources & Conservation, and Public Health, & Human Services offer several tips for protecting human health and the environment in a flood event.
Protect your water quality. If floodwater overtops a water well, spring, or cistern, it can contaminate those drinking water sources. After flooding, you should have the well disinfected and tested to make sure it’s safe.
Don’t use water from a flooded well or cistern for drinking, cooking, bathing or other household uses until you’ve talked with proper health authorities. Be prepared in the event that your well or cistern should become contaminated. Manage your septic system. If you suspect your wastewater system has been physically damaged by flooding, contact your county health department and a licensed septic system installer or a licensed plumber to have it assessed. Secure your storage tanks. Anchor above-ground fuel, propane, or other types of storage tanks to the ground or a solid foundation. Protect your health.  If clean potable water isn’t available, water used for drinking, cooking, or washing should be treated in one of two ways: 1) boil it for five minutes and then store in a clean container, or 2) mix five drops of household chlorine bleach into every quart and let stand at least five minutes (preferably 30 minutes to an hour) before using. Discard food that has been exposed to floodwaters. Sealed metal cans and sealed packages with intact protective outer coverings may be salvaged, but must be carefully cleaned and disinfected before opening. Discard refrigerated and frozen food if the power has been out and the food has been warmed to above 45 degrees Fahrenheit for more than three hours.
Launder flooded clothing and bedding using a disinfectant such as bleach a strong detergent. or replace all carpeting and rugs
For more information about flood insurance in Montana, visit the Commissioner of Securities and Insurance website at www.csimt.gov/your-insurance/flood or call 406-444-2040.
For current information on flooding in Montana, visit: http://deq.mt.gov/DEQAdmin/Emergency/FloodAdvisories

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