Tips for clearing up and repairing flood-damaged houses
Flood clean-up information
Flood water may be contaminated by sewage, including material from overflowing septic tanks.
If you’re checking buildings or dealing with food or other items in a building that’s been flooded, be careful with anything that’s been in contact with flood water.
Here are some tips from BRANZ, Regional Public Health, Electra and council to help you stay safe and well.
- Take photos of all damage for insurance purposes
- Before starting any clean-up work please make sure there is no immediate danger to you and your families from:Personal hygiene is very important to prevent the spread of disease
- continued flooding
- damaged structures
- electric shock – supply should be discontinued until initial checks have been carried out and the supply and installations are confirmed as safe
- leaking gas – supply should be discontinued until checked and tagged as safe
- Use rubber gloves, boots and eye protection while cleaning
- overflowing drains or sewage systems
Outside your house
- First clear the access to your dwelling; once things have dried out you can tackle the rest of your section
- If your gas meter has been affected by water or debris contact the gas supply authorities
- Use a shovel to remove surface contamination. Place it at the edge ofyour section ensuring it doesn’t block drainage channels
- Don’t eat raw vegetables from soil that has been submerged in floodwater. Clean up gardens, remove debris and sprinkle them with lime
- Leave garden surfaces exposed to the air and sunshine to dry outnaturally. Make drainage holes with a fork to aerate
- Natural processes such as sunlight, drying and wind will make youroutside areas safer over the short to medium term
- Hard surfaces such as driveways can be cleaned and disinfected with 1 litre of household chlorine bleach in 10 litres of coldwater (a household bucket). Leave on for 30 minutes then rinsewith water
- You may have residual contamination from surface mud on the lawnsand paths so always remove your shoes when entering the house
- Always wash your hands on coming in from outside and beforehandling food
- Small children should be kept away during the clean-up phase
Inside your house
- Damaged pillows, mattresses and soft upholstered furnishings should be discarded.
- Get rid of contaminated clothing, sheets, toys, etc., unless they can be cleaned and disinfected.
- Boil clothing and sheets.
- Things that can’t be boiled should be thoroughly washed using disinfectant
- Other items like drapes and blankets can be dry cleaned
- If water might have reached under-floor wiring or wall sockets, contact an electrician before switching power on again
- Electrical appliances such as refrigerators, freezers and heaters should also be checked by an electrician before re-use
- Throw out all food that’s been contaminated, eg foodstuffs in bottles and jars with crown caps or not in waterproof containers.
- Thawed frozen food should also be discarded
Drying out your house
- Put all wet items outside to dry when the weather is fine
- Air out the rooms each day to help remove dampness
- Use a dehumidifier in the living and bedrooms to keep the moisture levels down to a manageable level
- Small amounts of mould can be removed using 1 litre household bleach in 10 litres of water
- Wipe down walls, floors and other surfaces. Leave the solution on for 30 minutes then rinse with clean water
- Don’t forget to protect yourself by wearing gloves and avoiding splashes to the face and eyes
- Keep windows open during the treatment
Is drinking water safe?
- Council monitors the drinking water supply on a regular basis and is required to warn people if it becomes contaminated
- Assume drinking water is safe unless you hear a public warning from council through social media, media releases, local press, council’s website, radio.
- If you have or have had water in your house there is a danger of electric shock
- Houses need to be isolated before any attempt to clean or clear the property starts
- Please call Electra on 0800 567876 to turn off the power before you start any work in the house
- More detailed information:
Contact council or Regional Public Health:
Kāpiti Coast District Council
Environmental Health Officer
04 296 4700
Regional Public Health
Health Protection Officer
04 570 9002