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EPA warns residents to secure hazardous items in anticipation of Missouri River floods

EPA REGION 7 RELEASE — As the risks of new flooding along portions of the Missouri River continue to exist, EPA Region 7 is urging residents of those areas to consider moving potentially hazardous items to safer locations in advance of rising waters.

During past flooding events in the Midwest, EPA has partnered with various local, state, and tribal governments to respond under the authority of the federal Oil Pollution Act to recover certain types of items from flood waters to prevent them from entering landfills. Notice of impending flooding allows residents and property owners time to relocate and secure items so that they do not become inundated, pollute water or become hazardous wastes.

To help people identify what should be moved beyond the reach of rising waters, EPA has prepared a list of some common household items containing potentially hazardous ingredients that might be found in homes, garages, basements or other storage spaces. That list is available online.

To help determine where to relocate items to avoid inundation, EPA recommends that residents and property owners regularly check the official flood level forecasts at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers website: http://www.nwo.usace.army.mil/html/op-e/maps.html

For example, if an area surrounding a two-story home is forecast to experience flooding at a depth that would not reach the upper floor, items already in the home could perhaps be moved to the upper floor to keep them out of flood waters.

However, many items normally stored in garages, barns or other outbuildings – especially flammable products such as gasoline, propane and solvents – should not be moved into homes for safety reasons. When possible, flammable products should be removed altogether from potentially flooded areas before flood waters can rise to reach them.

(Editor’s Note: This release is being reprinted as a courtesy to our readers.)

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