Friday, August 8, 2008

I leave you alone for a few days, and look what happens!

That's just typical... I go on holiday and Porirua gets hit by flooding and slips, and actually activates the incident room. I missed all the excitement!

The 31st of July was a pretty bad day weatherwise for much of the country. Porirua was the unlucky recipient of a very intense, and very localised band of heavy rain that coincided with the peak high tide. This managed to create a little mayhem from Titahi Bay, Mana, across to Papakowhai and Paremata with flooding (waist deep in places!), slips, and overflowing and backed-up sewerage pipes. Ew...

Our call centre had to bring in extra staff from other departments in order to deal with the influx of calls in such a short time - they estimate that we got about 250 calls. Our operations team were very busy, but coped admirably with all the call-outs, even the stinky ones.

What you can do if your property has been flooded (possible sewage contamination)
courtesy of Jim Sutton, Manager Environmental Standards

The main concerns with any sewage-contaminated surface water is that it can carry micro-organisms which can cause sickness. Therefore, where possible, people should avoid areas where contamination has occurred. So don't let children play in surface water. People should ensure that they wash their hands thoroughly before preparing, or eating food. If you have to walk through contaminated areas, take off footwear before going inside. Items that have been contaminated need to be washed thoroughly in clean water and disinfectant.

Once things start to dry off, contaminated driveways and other hard surfaces can be hosed clean. Contaminated items can also be wiped down with a disinfectant. Lawns and under-basement areas can have burnt lime (quick lime, Calcium Oxide ) applied - this acts as effective disinfectant. Care should be taken when applying burnt lime as it is caustic to the eyes and skin.

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