Beware of environmental health risks in floodwater

Mar 27, 2021
This article was published 3 years ago.

The North Coast Public Health Unit is issuing advice to people in flood-affected areas to stay away from floodwater which is likely to contain dangerous contaminants.

This advice follows the issuing of an evacuation order for homes in the Stuarts Point area which have been inundated by floodwater in the past week, causing on-site septic systems to fail.

North Coast Public Health Director Paul Corben said all floodwaters should be treated as contaminated.

“Floodwater can be extremely polluted and contaminated with sewage and chemicals. Contact can lead to skin and stomach infections and other rare, but serious conditions, such as leptospirosis,” Mr Corben said.

We’re urging all residents of areas affected by the floods to take care to reduce the risks of injury, sickness or infection. It is also very important to ensure children are kept way from floodwater at all times.

“If you are cleaning up after flooding, please remember to wear safety equipment including boots, gloves and eye protection and wash your hands thoroughly afterwards,” Mr Corben said.

For advice on how to stay safe and healthy during and after flood events, visit the NSW Health website:

If you need emergency assistance in a flood or storm, call the State Emergency Service (SES) on 132 500. For a medical, police or fire emergency call Triple Zero (000).


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