Public Health

***Alma—Buffalo County health officials recommend taking health and safety precautions with flooded wells and flood clean up


Buffalo County Health Department is urging local residents to protect themselves and their families following the storms and recent flooding in our area.

Flood water may contain high levels of raw sewage or other harmful material, including fertilizer, manure, gasoline, and pesticides. Humans and pets should not bathe, swim or drink from lakes, rivers, or streams, or in other water affected by flooding. Anyone who gets a headache, upset stomach, or flu-like discomfort, after being in flood waters should seek immediate medical attention.

Private wells can be contaminated: A flooded well is a contaminated well. Do not drink or bathe in water from a contaminated well. Instead, use water from a community water supply or bottled water. If these alternative sources are not available, boil well water for one minute at a rolling boil before use.

Once floodwaters have dropped, wells should be disinfected and tested for contamination. Free water test kits are available at the Buffalo County Health Department, 407 South Second Street, Alma, WI 54610. More information is available on the Health Department’s website:

Flooded basements should be handled with care: Basements containing standing water should be emptied gradually – no more than 2-3 inches per day. If a basement is drained too quickly, the water pressure outside the walls will be greater than the water pressure inside, which may cause the basement floor and walls to crack and collapse. Watch for sewage back-ups. Avoid any water that may contain human waste.

Damaged or wet flooring, carpeting, furniture, drywall, insulation, books, children’s stuffed animals, etc., should be removed and disposed of to prevent mold growth. People with breathing problems, such as asthma, should not enter areas where mold is likely or suspected. For clean-up, people should wear an N95 mask (available at hardware stores), gloves, and boots. Once damaged materials have been removed, use a diluted bleach mixture (1 cup of bleach per 1 gallon of water) to clean all surfaces showing flood water contact or mold. (Important: never mix products containing ammonia, such as cleaners, with bleach, as a harmful gas will form and cause serious injury.) Flood clean up kits will be available. Visit the Buffalo County website for updates:
Storm clean-up should be approached with caution: Downed power lines, broken glass, and exposed nails are some of the dangers people should avoid when cleaning up after a storm. To avoid injury:

• Wear sturdy shoes or boots, long sleeves and gloves.
• Make sure your chainsaw is in good working order. Avoid operating chainsaws in water-soaked areas or on slippery, sloping ground. People using chainsaws should be experienced in their proper use, have proper protective equipment, and not work alone.
• If you suspect any damage to your home, shut off electrical power, natural gas and propane tanks to avoid fire, electrocution, or explosions.
• If the power is out, use battery-powered lanterns to light homes rather than candles. Candles could trigger an explosion if there is a gas leak.
• Never use gasoline, propane, natural gas or charcoal-burning devices like camp stoves or generators inside the home, or even outside near an open window, door, or vent. Carbon monoxide from these sources can build up and cause illness or death.
Keep your food safe: Any food that was touched by floodwaters - even canned food - should be thrown out. If the power went out, inspect refrigerated and frozen foods and "when in doubt, throw it out."
More information about flooding in Buffalo County is available at  

Public Health Well Water and Clean Up Advisory

Well Information Sheet
En Español Well Information Sheet

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407 South 2nd Street
Alma WI, 54610

Phone: 608-685-4412


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