Birmingham, AL -- If your well or septic tank was damaged by flooding, you may be eligible for federal disaster assistance to restore it to use, federal officials said today.
Residents of 38 counties covered by President Bush's May 12 disaster declaration for Alabama can call the Federal Emergency Management Agency's (FEMA) toll-free registration line -- 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) -- to find out what help is available. The number for speech- and hearing-impaired applicants is TTY 1-800-462-7585.
"Assistance may cover pumping out septic tanks, repairing or replacing them," said Gracia Szczech, of FEMA, the federal coordinating officer for the Alabama disaster recovery.
"Homeowners with private wells that were rendered useless may be eligible for assistance if the well is the sole source of water. Renters forced to vacate homes because of unusable wells or septic tanks also may apply for temporary housing assistance," Szczech said.
Water pumped from wells that have been flooded should be disinfected before being used for drinking, food preparation and other domestic needs.
"Local health departments can help you with instructions on how to disinfect wells and to arrange for sampling," Szczech said.
The designated counties for disaster assistance in Alabama are Baldwin, Barbour, Bibb, Blount, Bullock, Calhoun, Chambers, Cherokee, Clarke, Clay, Cleburne, Colbert, Coosa, Cullman, DeKalb, Escambia, Etowah, Jackson, Jefferson, Lauderdale, Lawrence, Lee, Limestone, Macon, Madison, Marshall, Mobile, Monroe, Morgan, Randolph, Russell, Shelby, St. Clair, Talladega, Tallapoosa, Tuscaloosa, Walker and Washington.
FEMA's toll-free registration line operates 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. seven days a week.