Media Release

Health Department Warns of Flood Water Risks

Wednesday, June 27, 2012 9:45 AM
Alachua County Health Department

This press release put out at the request of the Alachua County Health Department.

ALACHUA COUNTY, FL – The significant rainfall associated with Tropical Storm Debby poses health risks associated with flood waters. “Displaced snakes, insects and other wildlife, downed electrical lines and bacteria are all potential health threats in flood waters.” stated Paul Myers, Administrator of the Alachua County Health Department (ACHD).  “Residents are advised to be aware of the risks that standing water poses during and after the storm.”

Flood waters- take extra caution when traveling on area roadways, especially to and from work.

·         Avoid areas already flooded, especially if the water is flowing fast. Do not attempt to cross flowing streams.

·         Road beds may be washed out under flood waters. NEVER drive through flooded roadways.

·         Be especially cautious at night when it is harder to recognize flood dangers.

·         Avoid downed power lines.

·         In essence, ‘Turn Around, Don’t Drown’, when approaching a flooded roadway.

Mosquitoes- recent rains and now flood waters have created mosquito breeding grounds and an increase in the mosquito population is expected in the coming days and weeks.  Practice the “5 D’s”:

·         Drainage – Check around your home to rid the area of standing water, which is where mosquitoes can lay their eggs. 

·         DEET – When the potential exists for exposure to mosquitoes, repellents containing DEET (N,N-diethyl-meta-toluamide, or N,N-diethyl-3-methylbenzamide) are recommended.  Picaridin and oil of lemon eucalyptus are other repellent options. 

·         Dress – Wear clothing that covers most of your skin.

·         Dusk and Dawn – Avoid being outdoors when mosquitoes are most active.

Private wells- The ACHD advises private well owners affected by flood waters from Tropical Storm Debby to take precautions against disease-causing organisms that may make their water unsafe to drink and recommends one of the following precautions before using water for drinking, cooking, washing dishes, brushing teeth or making ice:

1.     Boil water before use, holding it at rolling boil for at least one minute; or

2.     Disinfect water before use by adding 8 drops (about 1/8 tsp – this would form a puddle about the size of a dime) of plain unscented household bleach (4 to 6%) per gallon of water, and then let it stand for 30 minutes. If the water is cloudy after 30 minutes, repeat the procedure. Use a container that has a cap or cover for disinfecting and storing water to be used for drinking. This will prevent contamination; or

3.     Use bottled water, especially for mixing baby formula.

After the flooding subsides, complete the following steps:

4.     Disinfect your well using the procedures available from your local health department or provided on the DOH's Environmental Health website.

·         Test your water by working with your local health department or by using a state certified laboratory to perform a drinking water analysis for coliform bacteria.

For more information, contact the Alachua County Health Department at 352-334-7930.

Our Mission: The goal of the Alachua County Health Department is to promote, protect, maintain and improve health and safety of all the citizens and visitors.


  • Mark Sexton
  • Communications & Legislative Affairs Director
  • Phone: 352-374-5204
  • Cell: 352-283-2317

If you have a disability and need an accommodation in order to participate in a County program, service or public meeting, please contact the Alachua County Equal Opportunity Office at 352-374-5275 at least 2 business days prior to the event. TTY users please call 711 (Florida Relay Service).