Thurston County Connection Newsletter
Thurston County Connection
Thurston County Connection
December, 2014
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This Month's Articles

Changes at Thurston County Superior Court

(More) Changes at Thurston County Superior Court

County Benefits from “JBLM Day of Service”

It’s official!

Health Systems Doing a Good Job of Tracking Illnesses

Families Welcome New Members

Perfection is Reality for County Waste Water Treatment Plant

Less Leftovers, More Joy

The Klondike Kings and the telegraph to nowhere

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 High, Dry, and Secure!

Prepare for Floods.

Act now to avoid problems with hazardous materials in case of floods. Even areas that are not near a river or in a flood plain can have problems with flooding. Heavy rains can overwhelm storm sewers and sometimes washing machines overflow!

Most homes have some hazardous materials stored or in regular use. Strong cleaners such as stain removers, drain openers, oven cleaners, and tub and tile cleaners can be hazardous. Check products used for auto care and yard care including gas and oil, degreasers, weed and bug killers, and even some lawn fertilizers. Home repair and maintenance products such as oil-based paint, varnish, sealant, moss remover, and lubricants typically are hazardous. Any products labeled “caution, warning, danger, or poison” are hazardous and should be stored carefully. In addition, be sure medicines, both prescription and over-the-counter are stored safely.

The action plan is to ensure hazardous items are high, dry, and secure. Place items higher than floodwater would be expected. In a flood-prone area, that may be in an upper floor of the structure or even off site. In other areas, storage on a sturdy upper shelf inside a cabinet may be high enough. Place items inside a bucket, tub, or other container that can catch any drips or leaks. If a product is knocked over, the tub will still catch the contents. Hazardous materials should be stored in a secure, preferably locked location to prevent access by children, pets, and others. Fasten shelves or cabinets to the wall with screws, anchors, L-brackets, or by some other means to prevent them from tipping over. These precautions will minimize the risk during earthquakes as well as floods.

Always store products in their original containers with the label. If a label is coming loose, glue or tape it back on. The label contains important safety information as well as information about ingredients and hazard characteristics. Never store hazardous materials in food containers. Unfortunately the Poison Control Center receives calls each year from people who consume a poisonous product that was improperly stored in a food container. The Washington Poison Control Center reports that 90% of poisoning occurs at home. Before purchasing and again before using a hazardous product, read the label and follow the safety directions.

Always keep hazardous materials away from your well; never store any inside a well house. Floodwater can wash hazardous chemicals into your drinking water through any cracks, pinholes, or other openings in the well cap, casing, or seal. Always test your well water before drinking it after a flood. More information about water testing is found at the Thurston County: Water Quality Lab web pages.

Take any unwanted hazardous products to HazoHouse, located at the Thurston County Waste and Recovery Center 2418 Hogum Bay Road NE. It is free of charge to households and open Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and Monday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Businesses call 360-867-2664. Unwanted medicines can be brought to the red medicine return box at the Group Health Pharmacy on 700 Lilly Road NE. You do not need to be a Group Health member to use this service. Check the website Where do I take my… for more details.

For more information on preparing for floods, and steps to take after a flood please visit the Storm and Flood Information pages on the County Health web site. or call 360-867-2674 (TDD 360-754-2933).

By Jane MtJoy Venning

The next flood could be right around the corner. The next flood could be right around the corner.