Okanagan Indian Band warns of 'dangerous, disgusting and filthy dirty' flood water

FILE PHOTO

OKANAGAN - You might think it novel to cruise through flooded yards on a paddle board, or float around on an inner tube, but the Okanagan Indian Band is popping that idea with a blunt warning: flood water is nasty.

People should avoid contact with flood water and not let children play in it, the band urges in an information release. 

"Flood water is dangerous, disgusting, and filthy dirty. It can be riddled with potentially life-threatening hazards," the band says. 

There's no shortage of social media posts showing the devastation of floods, but you can also find the same for people using flood water for recreational fun, the band says. 

"Entire families, or worse teens and young children, are rafting, canoeing, kayaking, playing with inflatables, running through the water in their bare feet, splashing, jumping, and even swimming in potentially toxic, hazardous water,” the release states.

The band has the following eight nausea-inducing reasons why you should avoid coming into contact with flood water:

1. Raw sewage

Raw sewage contains disease-causing micro-organisms like e. Coli, Cryptosporidium, Hepatitis A, Cholera and more. Open cuts and wounds can become infected by contaminated water.

2. Mosquitos

Flooding can create ponds which become natural breeding grounds for mosquitos, which can carry West Nile virus.

3. Hazardous waste

Flood water can contain hundreds of different chemicals, including vehicle fluids, dead and decaying animals, animal waste, fertilizers and pesticides.

4. Sharp and dangerous objects

Flood water picks up everything in its path and is generally murky and muddy. Sharp and dangerous objects can be hidden underneath, such as broken glass, metal fragments, barbed wire, trees and branches, and more.

5. Hidden rocks, ditches and potholes

Hidden rocks, ditches, and potholes may cause children, and adults, to lose their footing and strain a muscle or turn an ankle, or worse, they could be knocked unconscious and drown.

6. Storm drains, storm pipes, manholes and culverts

During a flood, as water recedes, storm drains, pipes, and manholes become powerful suction devices that can sweep away a child or adult in an instant.

7. Sink holes

Sink holes can occur suddenly during a flood. They can break water mains and pipes, and cause neighbouring structures to become unstable.

“Unfortunately, teens, children and even adults are curious, becoming ‘looky-loos’ and putting themselves in danger,” the band says.

8. Municipal and private well water contamination

(The band notes this applies to areas under a boil water advisory only)

There may be massive amounts of water everywhere, but ironically, none of it — even your tap water — may be useable. The band warns that water may not be safe for drinking, cooking or cleaning with after a flood due to bacteria, sewage, agricultural and industrial waste, and other chemicals. If you have a private well you should have your water re-tested before consuming it.


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