With record snow amounts and warming temperatures, your basement could get some flooding. Before you have a basement full of water, here are some tips to make the clean-up a little less nasty.
1. Move or dispose of products that could become hazardous wastes.
Check areas that are likely to be flooded for these products.
- paint thinner
- household batteries
- furniture stripper
In the laundry room and other storage areas:
- furniture polish
- spot remover
- pet flea spray/collars
You can print out this checklist to identify common hazardous products in your home: Healthy home checklist.
Batteries, solvents, paints, paint thinners, pesticides, household cleaners, and other chemicals that you no longer need can be taken to your county’s household hazardous waste facility. A hazardous household product has one or more of these words on the label: caution, warning, danger, poison, flammable, reactive, corrosive, toxic. If you are a Minnesota resident, you can locate your county’s household hazardous waste collection site.
“Move items that you must keep to a place that you are certain will not flood,” Jennifer Volkman, MPCA household hazardous waste specialist, advised.
2. Move other stuff out of harm’s way
Mold and mildew can set in quickly if things get wet. So move anything you've stored on the floor up onto shelves or other higher places. Roll up area rugs and carpets and put them up. Got boxes on the floor? Now's the time to sort through them and donate what you don't need anymore. Canned goods and other foodstuffs that come in contact with floodwater may get contaminated and will have to be thrown away.
If you have a dehumidifier, check to see if it is still working and get it above potential water level. You'll need it to remove moisture from the air.
3. Don't forget the garage
If your garage is likely to flood, be sure to take the same steps. And look for hazardous products that could spill or become damaged, like motor oil, gasoline, antifreeze or weedkillers, insecticides and other pesticides.
For more information
More advice on what to do before and after flooding to minimize risks to health and damage to property and the environment is on the Floods: Minimizing pollution and health risks webpage.
Local units of government can find additional information on the Toolbox for recovering from a natural disaster webpage and the Disposing of wastes from a natural disaster webpage.