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How to avoid health problems caused by the heavy rainfall

POSTED: August 1, 2013 8:44 p.m.

Southeast Georgia has experienced a lot of rain over the past several weeks, which could cause an increase in public health-related issues such as mosquito breeding and septic system failure. Coastal Health District officials recommend that residents take whatever precautions possible to minimize potential problems.


Mosquitoes
Mosquitoes can be a nuisance but they can also transmit disease. Mosquitoes breed in standing water, which is why it is important to regularly inspect and empty containers such as buckets, flower pots, gutters, bird baths, tarps and children’s wading pools, that can hold water after rain.


Organizing clean-up activities to pick up garbage from parks and other public spaces also will help limit mosquito breeding.
Anything that can hold water for more than a couple of days has the potential to become a mosquito breeding ground, so it’s important to eliminate the source.


Septic systems
It’s possible that periods of heavy rainfall can cause a septic system not to function properly due to saturation of the soil in and around septic drain fields. It is always important for residents using septic systems to conserve water usage and ensure that surface waters from rain are diverted away from septic drain fields.

Some helpful tips include:
• Repair dripping faucets and leaking toilets.
• Run dishwashers only when full.
• Do not do all your laundry in one day. Space out the washing machine use over the week.
• Replace old fixtures with water-saving fixtures.
• Do not direct water from gutter downspouts, sump pumps or subsurface drains into the septic tank.
• Always divert water away from septic drain fields.


“Rain definitely has its uses, but when we get a lot of it over a short period of time it can also cause problems,” said Coastal Health District Health Director Dr. Diane Weems. “We want to make sure that residents in Bryan, Camden, Chatham, Effingham, Glynn, Liberty, Long and McIntosh counties are doing everything they can to avoid those problems.”

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