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Flooding: Sewer and Surface Water

Do NOT swim or bathe in rivers, streams, creeks, or lakes in flooded areas!

Surface Water

Flood water may contain many contaminants, such as sewage, fertilizer, manure, gasoline, pesticides, hazardous materials, and other chemicals. Flooded water may also contain large pieces of debris, such as tree limbs, metal objects, sharp objects like nails and glass, fence posts, pieces of fencing, etc. Your family and pets should NOT have contact with potentially contaminated floodwater.

For public beaches and access points to surface water, contact your local parks department or local health department for monitoring information at these sites. Additional recreational water testing can be found at the Wisconsin State Lab of Hygiene webpage.

Private Sewage Systems

Private sewage systems that are flooded are no longer reliable. Portable toilets or other facilities should be used. For information on sewage systems affected by a flood, contact your local zoning office, code administrator, or sanitary inspection office. More information is available at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Sewage may back flow from your septic or municipal system through floor drains, toilets, etc. Any affected areas, such as basements, must be cleaned and disinfected, as with a chlorine solution. Anything that cannot be cleaned should be thrown out.

Last revised May 28, 2021