Missouri Department of Natural Resources fact sheet
Missouri Department of Natural Resources Director: Dru Buntin

Contaminated Surface Water

  • Keep contact with floodwaters to a minimum. Flooded rivers and streams are contaminated with sewage, animal wastes and other harmful contaminants.
  • Stay out of floodwaters; do not swim, wade, tube or have other recreational contact.
  • Avoid recreational boating on rivers and streams in flood stage. Rapidly flowing floodwaters can contain unpredictable currents, eddies and can conceal submerged or moving objects that can damage a boat.
  • Vacate buildings if electric, gas, drinking water and wastewater systems are not working due to flood conditions.
  • If contact with floodwaters is unavoidable, shower or bathe with anti-bacterial soap afterward.
  • If you are injured while working in floodwaters, contact your doctor to see if you need a tetanus shot.
  • After floodwaters recede, wash flooded buildings with clean water and biodegradable detergent. Thoroughly check and clean all natural gas, electric, drinking water and sewage disposal systems before returning to service. Outdoor areas should be washed or sluiced with river water or clean water from hydrants.
  • Floodwaters trapped behind levees or pooled in low areas may be released or pumped back to the adjacent river or stream without special permission or permits. Use care to avoid damage or harm to neighbors.
  • If you suspect flood waters may be contaminated with petroleum products or other chemicals, contact your local emergency response agency or the nearest regional office of the Missouri Department of Natural Resources or the Department's Central Field Operations at:

For guidance on mosquito abatement, contact the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services at 573-751-6113.

For guidance on dead animal removal, contact the Missouri Department of Agriculture’s Division of Animal Health at 573-751-5608.

Nothing in this document may be used to implement any enforcement action or levy any penalty unless promulgated by rule under chapter 536 or authorized by statute.

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