April 23, 2008
FREDERICTON (CNB) - New Brunswick's Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Wayne MacDonald, reminds New Brunswickers to be cautious with their drinking water and food supplies when cleaning up during and following flooding in their home and area.
"During and following a flood situation it is essential that affected residents take the precautions necessary to reduce possible risks to their health and that of their family," MacDonald said.
Private water supplies affected by flooding should not be used while the wellhead is flooded. Once flood waters have receded, the well should be disinfected and water quality should be tested prior to use. The Department of Health provides testing services for total coliforms and E. coli via specific Service New Brunswick locations. You may also choose the services of a private, accredited laboratory. Until tests indicate that your water supply is safe, water for drinking and personal use should be brought to a rolling boil for at least one minute, then stored in clean, covered containers. Alternatively, water may be obtained from a secure and safe supply.
Private water supplies may also be affected by chemicals such as furnace oil, gasoline or agricultural chemicals. Should you think that your well has been affected by such chemicals, the well water should not be used for any domestic purpose whatsoever - even if it has been boiled - before it is deemed safe by health officials.
To avoid the health hazards of food contamination, all perishable goods, vacuum-packed foods and any other foods affected by flooding should be thrown out. Home preserves, meats, fish or dairy products should be discarded as unsafe if they have been affected by flood water.
Cooking and eating utensils should be cleaned of all deposits. Utensils used for infant feeding should be disinfected according to the manufacturer's recommendations.
Care must also be taken to avoid the health hazards of mildew and bacterial mould, which may build up on such areas as wall structures as a result of flooding.
For more information regarding the health effects relating to flooding or well disinfection procedures, residents should contact one of the regional Public Health offices listed in the blue pages of the telephone book, or visit: www.gnb.ca/0053/water/alerts-e.asp . More information is available on the Department of Health website at www.gnb.ca/health or www.gnb.ca/EMO .
MEDIA CONTACT: Johanne Le Blanc, communications, Health, 506-457-3513.