Dr Phil Shoemack
Recent silt testing shows that there are no issues with chemical contamination in Edgecumbe township. Where there are still areas of ponding, these may contain stagnant water, but this should be a diminishing issue as water recedes and/or evaporates.
Any floodwater, whether from the April event, or from the current heavy rainfall, should be treated as if it may contain faecal matter. This may be from from farm animals and farm effluent systems, as well as wild animals and birds and/or an overwhelmed sewage system.
Dr Phil Shoemack, Medical Officer of Health from the Waikato District Health Board has indicated that significant contamination of the environment associated with the floods is highly unlikely and any risk to the public is negligible.
His advice, however, is for people to take practical precautions in any recently flooded sites, such as wearing enclosed footwear (NOT jandals or bare feet) and to wash hands frequently, remembering that our environment is far from sterile at any time.
It is recommended that anyone specifically cleaning or handling materials that were affected by last month’s flood should wear appropriate protective clothing such as mask, gloves, and overalls.