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Health Unit, Building Department advise those in flood-prone areas to take precautions

SIMCOE, June 21, 2019 – With flood-like conditions in areas such as Long Point, staff with the Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit and Norfolk County Building Department are offering tips to help protect drinking water quality and keep residents safe.


Drinking water: If you believe your well or cistern has been affected by flood waters, you should have your water tested for bacteria before resuming normal use. Contaminated water should not be used for drinking, food preparation, washing dishes, brushing teeth, making ice or baby formula.


The Health Unit provides free water testing. Water sample bottles can be picked up at any Health Unit office or the Langton Administration Building. Bottles will also be temporarily available at R&R Outdoors, 136 Erie Blvd. in Port Rowan, N0E1M0. Samples can be dropped off at any Health Unit office or the Langton Administration Building from Monday to Thursday 8:30am to 4:30pm.


Public Health Inspectors are available to discuss options with those who receive adverse test results: 519-426-6170 or 905-318-6623, extension 3333.


Septic Systems: Under flood-like conditions, Norfolk County’s Building Department recommends that those with holding tanks and tile beds monitor their property for signs of malfunction. Visible damage in or around the tank or tile bed as well as odours in the area or home and an unusual colour of ponding water could be signs of a malfunctioning septic system.  Holding and septic tanks may continue to be pumped out as necessary, however, under flood-like conditions, caution should be taken to ensure the tank is not emptied too much, making it prone to float and break drain lines due to high groundwater levels.  Limited water use (e.g. less laundry, reduced shower time, avoiding baths) can also assist with reducing the risk of further septic malfunction under these conditions.  Those in Norfolk with septic system concerns can contact the County’s Building Department at 519-426-5870 extension 6016.


Mould: For those where floodwater has entered their home or business, be sure to wear protective equipment including rubber gloves, protective glasses and an N95 mask when cleaning up mould. Smaller patches of mould (one square-metre or less) can be removed by washing with soap and water and ensuring surfaces dry completely. A professional should be consulted for larger mould damage. Some materials such as mouldy clothing, ceiling tiles and sheet rock may have to be replaced.


Mosquito Protection:  As temperatures rise and wet conditions persist, there is a potential for an increase in mosquitoes. Subsequently, the Health Unit reminds the public to protect themselves from mosquito bites.  Applying bug repellent containing DEET or icardin according the manufacturer’s instructions as well as avoiding being outdoors at dawn and dusk when mosquitoes are most active is recommended.


For those seeking more information on drinking water, mould and mosquito protection, visit or call the HNHU’s Environmental Health Team at 519-426-6170/905-318-6623 extension 3333.