Moorhead, MN -- Federal and state disaster recovery officials are advising residents in flooded areas to have septic systems and wells checked for safety. Floodwaters can cause septic tanks to fill and overflow resulting in possible health risks and environmental problems.
"Septic systems won't work until ground water is below the distribution lines," said Patricia Bloomgren, Minnesota Director of Environmental Health. "Since flood waters are receding, now is a good time to make sure septic tanks are working properly.
Experts suggest that licensed sewage businesses and environmental waste transporters pump out septic tanks.
Submerged wells used for drinking, food preparation and other domestic needs should be disinfected immediately if contamination is suspected. Wells near streams and drainage areas are especially susceptible to contamination.
Residents concerned about well water quality should contact their local health department for testing. If major repairs are needed to septic systems, officials suggest checking with county officials to determine if new regulations apply before repairs are made. If repairs are needed to water well, look in the yellow pages for a licensed well contractor.
Anyone in the declared disaster counties needing repair and/or restoration of septic systems and wells are urged to call the toll free registration number, 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) or TDD 1-800-452-7585 from 8 a.m until 6.p.m until further notice