ALGER COUNTY, Mich. (WJMN) – Homes in Au Train Township have been flooded after local leaders say a buildup of ice at the mouth of the Au Train River pushed water levels above normal.

In a Facebook post from Au Train Township, they have received emergency approval from the Army Corp of Engineers and EGLE to move forward with efforts to remove the ice blockage. According to the same post, MDOT is requiring a performance resolution to be approved by the Township Board before work can begin. It is set to be the first item discussed at a board meeting Tuesday night. They estimate work will not be done Tuesday night and could take several days to remove all the ice.

The LMAS District Health Department issued information on Tuesday for homeowners affected by flooding in Au Train Township. LMAS Environmental Health Director Elizabeth Suggitt shared tips for managing drinking water wells, septic systems, clean-up of flooded basements and food safety.

Private Drinking Water Wells
Water from a well that has been flooded should be assumed to be contaminated. If the water level rose above the top of the well casing, the well has been flooded. Do not use the well water for drinking, cooking, making ice, brushing teeth, or even bathing until you are sure that the water is not contaminated. Bottled water is recommended.

In order to ensure that the water is safe, the well should be disinfected, then the water should be tested to make sure it is safe for drinking. Well disinfection instructions are available on the health department website www.lmasdhd.org. Water testing kits are available at the Alger Co. LMAS Health Department office at E9526 Prospect Street in Munising.

Flooded Septic Systems
If your septic system was flooded or damaged by erosion, contact the health department for assistance at 387-2297. If possible, don’t use the system if the soil is saturated and flooded. The wastewater will not be treated and will become a source of pollution. Conserve water as much as possible while the system restores itself and the water table falls.

Pump the septic tank as soon as possible after the flood. Only a licensed septage hauler can pump out a septic tank. At best, pumping the tank is only a temporary solution. This will remove silt and debris that may have washed into the system. Do not pump the tank during flooded or saturated drain field conditions. Under saturated conditions, pumping it out could cause the tank to float out of the ground and may damage the inlet and outlet pipes.

Flooded Basements
Homeowners should always wear protective equipment including N-95 respirators or masks, goggles, protective gloves, boots, and long pants when cleaning up after a flood. Standing water and wet materials are a breeding ground for microorganisms such as viruses, bacteria and mold. Where floodwater contains sewage, infectious disease is a concern. Even when flooding is due to rainwater, the growth of microorganisms can cause allergic reactions in sensitive
individuals.

Flood water can also make the air in your home unhealthy. When surfaces get wet for more than two days they usually get moldy. Mold may be more likely to make some people with asthma, allergies, or other breathing problems sick. For these health reasons, and to lessen structural damage, all standing water should be removed as quickly as possible.
Remove all wet material and furnishings from the building. Discard anything that cannot be washed and disinfected. Floor and wall surfaces should be washed with detergent and water, and then disinfected with a household bleach solution (1/2 cup per gallon of water). Air dry the affected area completely. Always wash hands with soap and water
after any cleanup activity.

Food Safety
Do not eat food that has been in contact with flood water. If electricity has been off, refrigerated food may have spoiled. Discard any food that has been at room temperature for more than two hours or if it has an unusual odor or color. Thawed food from freezers may be safe for consumption or refreezing if it is still partially frozen or is “refrigerator cold.” (Below 41 degrees) Babies on formula should be given ready-to-feed formula or powdered formula
prepared with bottled drinking water. Wash hands with soap and disinfected water before eating or handling food, after clean-up work and after handling flood water-contaminated items.

More specific information on flood clean-up in homes, flooded septic systems, and well disinfection is available at www.lmasdhd.org.