News Release 203

Preparation efforts can minimize potential environmental concerns during flood situations

Volume 39-203 (For Immediate Release)
For more information: 573-751-1010

JEFFERSON CITY, MO, JUNE 16, 2011 – Releases from the Missouri River major reservoirs are increasing to unprecedented amounts and additional rainfall within the watershed will determine the severity and duration of flooding this summer. In anticipation of the rising floodwaters, the Missouri Department of Natural Resources would like to encourage citizens located within the Missouri River floodplain to take necessary precautions to help minimize health, safety and environmental concerns from flooding.

Household hazardous waste, agricultural chemicals, propane and other fuel tanks including used oil containers should be removed or secured to prevent exposure with flood waters. All fuel tanks should be properly marked to help identify them and avoid problems in the event of local flooding. In addition, private water well owners should ensure the well cap is free from cracks and secured to the well casing to prevent it from becoming contaminated during a flood with pollutants that be included in the floodwaters.

The department has a natural disaster resource webpage to provide residents of flood-stricken communities’ important information on preparing for and recovering from flooding. The department’s disaster website at dnr.mo.gov/disaster.htm provides community leaders, emergency responders and individuals with a convenient location to find an extensive list of fact sheets to aid in preparation for and recovery from recent floods. A list of a few of those fact sheets are listed below.

Preparation:

Reducing the Impact of Flooding – Agricultural Chemicals, Household Hazardous Waste, Propane Tanks and Private Water Wells.
How to Construct a Sandbag Emergency Levee.
After the flood:

Boil Water Notice and Restoring Drinking Water.
Disaster Response Guidance for Public Drinking Water and Wastewater.
Disaster Response for On-Site Wastewater Systems.
Facts on Open Burning Under Missouri Regulations.
Household Chemicals and Household Hazardous Waste.
How to Handle Asbestos-Containing Debris.
Water Pollution.
What to do with Disaster Debris.
If the fact sheets and documents do not address your questions or communities and residents are unable to access the Web, please call the Missouri Department of Natural Resources at 800-361-4827.

If residents experience a loss in water pressure for any period of time they should contact their public water supply directly for further information and consult the local news media for notification when any health advisories have been issued or lifted. If residents need additional information or cannot reach their water supply representative, call the department’s Public Drinking Water Branch at 800-361-4827 or 573-751-5331 or your nearest regional office. Individuals using private wells that may have been flooded should follow boil order procedures, which are available from their local public health agency.

Rising river stages increases the potential for environmental and recreational hazards. Flooded rivers and streams can become contaminated with sewage, animal wastes and other harmful contaminants, which are why it is important to try to avoid contact with floodwaters. If contact with floodwaters is unavoidable, shower or bathe with anti-bacterial soap afterwards.

In addition, citizens should avoid recreational boating on rivers and streams in flood stage. Rapidly flowing floodwaters can contain unpredictable currents, eddies and can conceal submerged or moving objects.

For more information or questions on environmental concerns, contact the Department of Natural Resources at 800-361-4827 or contact one of the department’s regional offices in your area.

· Kansas City Regional Office – 816-622-7000

· Northeast Regional Office – 660-385-8000

· Southeast Regional Office – 573-840-9750

· Southwest Regional Office – 417-891-4300

· St. Louis Regional Office – 314-416-2960

###