Don't Overlook Hazardous Materials in Flood Emergency Plan

Don't Overlook Hazardous Materials in Flood Emergency Plan

Residents urged to move and secure fuels and chemicals in advance of Missouri River's rising floodwaters.

As the risk of flooding increases for Missourians in the Missouri River Valley, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 7 office is urging residents in floodplain areas to consider moving potentially hazardous items to safer locations in advance of rising waters.

Summer flood of 2011

During past flooding events in the Midwest, EPA has partnered with various local, state, and tribal governments to respond under the authority of the federal Oil Pollution Act to recover certain types of items from floodwaters to prevent them from entering landfills. Notice of impending flooding allows residents and landowners time to relocate and secure items so that they do not become inundated, pollute water or become hazardous wastes.

To help people identify what should be moved beyond the reach of rising waters, EPA has prepared a list of some common household items containing potentially hazardous ingredients that might be found in homes, garages, basements or other storage spaces. That list is available online at www.epa.gov/region7/factsheets/2011/pre_flood_haz_waste_checklist.htm.

To help determine where to relocate items to avoid inundation, EPA recommends that residents and landowners regularly check the official flood level forecasts at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers website: www.nwo.usace.army.mil/html/op-e/maps.html.

For example, if an area surrounding a two-story home is forecast to experience flooding at a depth that would not reach the upper floor, items already in the home could be moved to the upper floor to keep them out of flood waters.

However, many items normally stored in garages, barns or other outbuildings -- especially flammable products such as gasoline, propane and solvents -- should be removed altogether from potentially flooded areas before floodwaters can rise to reach them.

Source: EPA Region 7

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