well water tests
Private well water samples after testing

Record-setting rains hit our area on August 20th, and the following morning, we sprang into action to begin to address the health and safety concerns within flooded communities.

We activated our Incident Command System (ICS) structure, a management system designed to enable an effective and efficient response and participated in both the City of Madison and Dane County Emergency Operations Centers to help coordinate city, county, and state resources in response to the flooding.

Here is more about what we’ve been doing to help.

Providing Free Private Well Testing

Private wells that had flooding over and around them, are at risk of contamination from pollutants carried in the flood waters. It is important to test and make sure water is safe, as drinking and preparing food with contaminated water cause illness.

To make it easy for well owners who had flooding, we partnered with the Wisconsin State Lab of Hygiene and Department of Health Services to offer free private well water testing test kits in Mazomanie, Black Earth, Cross Plains, Town of Middleton, Town of Montrose, and Town of Verona.

Results from the first day of testing samples showed approximately 20% of samples had bacterial contamination, illustrating how important it is to disinfect wells and test water.

Advising on Septic System Problems

Flooding can pose problems for homeowners with septic systems. Our Sanitarians are consulting with homeowners to help make sure systems are functioning properly.

Supporting and Advising Restaurants and Grocers

Sanitarians continue to work with restaurant owners and grocers to evaluate their facility and advise on safety in clean-up efforts, cleaning flooded areas, what foods are unsafe and need to be thrown out, and what steps need to be taken before reopening.

Advising and Providing Information to Homeowners on Clean-Up and Preventing Mold

We are providing information to homeowners directly and through our website and media about how to clean up to prevent mold. Flood clean-up involves hazards, health concerns and other issues that go beyond normal cleaning and require protective gear and taking safety measures. We have also been assisting renters who feel their landlord is not dealing with clean-up properly.

Our Flood Resources webpage provides additional health and safety information for flooding concerns.

While we can never truly know exactly how an emergency may unfold, we can do our best to be prepared for the unthinkable if it happens. We encourage you to spend a few minutes thinking about planning for an emergency with your loved ones now. Ready.gov is a great website to get you started. Be sure to think not only about being prepared at your home, but also about how you would deal with an emergency if you were away from home, like at work, in your car, or even running errands.

This content is free for use with credit to the City of Madison - Public Health Madison & Dane County and a link back to the original post.