Sewage spills amid floods in Warwick and Stanthorpe

RAW sewage has spilled from pump stations and manholes in Warwick and Stanthorpe following heavy rainfall. 

Southern Downs Regional Council advised in a statement this afternoon the heavy rain event associated with ex-tropical Cyclone Debbie had compromised the Wastewater treament plants in both towns. 

The council urged residents to steer clear of flood waters following the wastewater spills. 

 Mayor Tracy Dobie said people need to be aware that sewage has entered the flood flow and need to be careful.

"Council urges the public not to enter floodwaters as there will be some contamination from the raw sewage. It will be heavy diluted because of the amount of floodwater, but people should still avoid entering floodwaters," Cr Dobie said. 

"We would also ask the community to proceed with caution when playing sport on fields that may have been inundated by potentially contaminated floodwater, such as Queens Park in Warwick.

"If you have been in contact with floodwaters, you should decontaminate hands and clothing by washing thoroughly with soap and water.

The council statement also said floodwater is often contaminated by sewage from overflowing sewerage or septic systems, and by agricultural or industrial wastes and chemicals.

There is a higher risk of infection by coming into contact with polluted water or soil.

You could end up with wound infections, dermatitis, conjunctivitis or ear, nose and throat infections.

SDRC offered a few tips to avoid infection from contaminated floodwater: 

  •  Don't wade through water, even shallow water. If you must enter shallow water, wear solid boots or shoes for protection.
  • Try to avoid contact with mud and dirt.
  • Always wash your hands with soap and water before handling food, and after handling pets that may have been in contact with water or soil.
  • Cleaning up
  • Any household items or areas that were contaminated by floodwater should be washed well, including hard surfaces such as floors and paved areas.
  • Wear protective clothing, and wash your hands well once you're finished.
  • Grassed and bare dirt areas should be left to dry out naturally.

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