The North Dakota Department of Health (NDDoH) has guidelines available at www.ndhealth.gov/flood/ for disposal of food and household waste after a flood. To prevent impacts of waste on human health and the environment, the NDDoH recommends the following:
- Do not mix different types of waste or pile them together for collection.
- When in doubt, throw it out! Food wastes may be unsafe because of damaged containers or because refrigerators or freezers were without power. Spoiled food also can attract rodents and other vermin.
- Food, small animal carcasses, diapers, etc. that spoil rapidly should be separated from other waste, placed in heavy-duty plastic bags or containers, and disposed of quickly via your local garbage collector or by hauling to a municipal solid waste landfill.
- Hazardous chemicals, paint, items that contain mercury (e.g., fluorescent lights, thermostats) and electronics should be separated for proper recycling or disposal.
- Appliances that cannot be cleaned and repaired, as well as scrap metal, should be collected separately for recycling.
- Furniture, carpet, books and paper that cannot be recycled, along with demolition debris, should be placed together for collection. Be aware that some demolition materials may require special handling because they contain lead paint and/or asbestos.
- Concrete and brick should be stockpiled for recycling.
- Tree branches and clean, nontreated wood should be separated for grinding to mulch.
Check with your local waste hauler or community emergency officials for guidelines specific to your community for disposal of flood-related waste. For more information on waste disposal after a disaster such as a flood, contact the Division of Waste Management at 701-328-5166 or visit www.ndhealth.gov/flood/.
Article provided by The North Dakota Department of Health.