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Posted on: June 15, 2022

Flood Preparation and Recovery

Heavy rains continue in Ferry, Pend Oreille, and Stevens Counties, with a flood warning currently in place for the Pend Oreille River below Albeni Falls. Floods can have serious impacts to the health and safety of the public. Northeast Tri County Health District (NETCHD) urges residents to stay informed, prepare, and use caution before, during, and after flooding events.

Stay informed by self-registering for alerts through your county’s Emergency Operations Center.

Before flooding occurs in your area, have a plan. Your plan should include supplies needed for evacuation and steps to take to protect your house and any well/septic systems you may utilize.

Evacuation Plan

  • Make a flood emergency plan for evacuation, shelter, and locations for high ground. Include yourself, household members, and any animals.
  • Build or restock your emergency preparedness kit. Include a flashlight, batteries, cash, and first aid supplies. Make plans to severely limit water use during and after flooding.
  • Know and follow the directions from local officials for community evacuation.
  • Do not enter flooded areas or moving water, either on foot or in a vehicle, including areas that appear to have only inches of water.

Home Flood Preparation

  • Bring in outdoor furniture and move important indoor items to the highest possible floor. This will help protect them from flood damage.
  • Disconnect electrical appliances and do not touch electrical equipment if you are wet or are standing in water because you could be electrocuted.
  • If instructed, turn off gas and electricity at the main switch or valve to help prevent fires and explosions.

Drinking Water Well Flood Preparation

  • Check that the well has a tight-fitting, waterproof cap. Wrap the cap and well casing with durable sheet plastic and duct tape, then place sand bags around the well.
  • Ensure the backflow prevention valves are in place.
  • Turn the electricity off to your well pump just prior to the flood. Do not turn the electricity back on until the floodwaters recede.
  • If the well is not used during the flood, plug the vent holes. Remember to unplug the vent holes after threat of flood has passed.

Septic System Flood Preparation

  • If you have a septic system, ensure all access points to the system (lids, risers, cleanouts and inspection ports) are properly covered to prevent the flow of floodwaters into the system.
  • Install a backflow preventer (check valve) on the building sewer so sewage cannot back up into your home during a flooding event.
  • If your septic system requires electricity, turn off the pump and alarms at the circuit box before the area floods. Discontinue use of the system once the power supply has been shut off.
  • Limit water use during and after flooding. The drain field may not accept effluent until the area dries. Normal water use should not continue until the area is unsaturated and the septic system has been inspected to identify problems and any necessary repairs have been made.

When recovering and returning home from a flood, be aware that flood water is likely contaminated and presents risk. There are steps you can take to protect yourself and your family.

As floodwaters recede, residents of affected properties will be assessing the damage and devastation left behind, with clean up and repair top priorities. Some property owners will be faced with wells and septic systems that have been impacted by the flooding.

NETCHD is here to help provide guidance and recommendations to protect residents’ health and safety as they begin the cleanup process. Contact any of our NETCHD offices or visit our website at www.netchd.org to obtain recommendations and guidance for wells and septic systems after a flood and additional flood-related information.

NETCHD Offices:

  • Ferry County: 147 N Clark St. Republic, WA 509-775-3111
  • Pend Oreille County: 605 Hwy 20 Newport, WA 509-447-3131
  • Stevens County: 240 E. Dominion Ave. Colville, WA 509-684-2262

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Posted on: November 22, 2016