Swamped

Many area residents are dealing with the after aftermath of heavy rains and flooding.

Kathleen Gradel, a resident on Watson Road in Stow, said that she was trying to clean up her property after Wednesday’s flooding left wood and debris in her lawn, as well as the lawns of many surrounding properties.

“The last time our property flooded was two years ago, and it took nearly one year to dry out under our house,” Gradel said.

Gradel said that Dan Strickland, North Harmony highway superintendent, visited the area on Wednesday.

Carol Anderson, a resident at 2787 West Ave. in Greenhurst, was evacuated from her home due to the flooding.

“At 6 a.m., I woke up hearing the sound of water roaring past my bedroom window. The water from Dutch Hollow Creek flooded over the rock wall,” she said. “It was so violent it took rocks from the wall – big boulders – out.”

According to Anderson, mud, silt and trees littered her yard and the properties of her neighbors.

“It looks like a warzone,” Anderson said.

Village of Westfield water customers were asked conserve water until further notice on Wednesday, as the water plant is not operating due to muddy water in the reservoir. Customers were asked to conserve water – not to use laundry machines, dishwashers, and to limit showers and water used for food preparation – until the treatment plant can be put back into operation.

Chautauqua County Emergency Management called on residents in the South and Center Sewer district to conserve water and disconnect unauthorized sump pump hookups until further notice due to overwhelming rainfall. Residents were asked to reduce water and sewer usage until further notice.

The Chautauqua County Department of Health and Human Services’ Public Health Division recommended that residents utilizing wells in flooded areas ensure their water is safe to drink.

“Even if it is not still under water, a flood will leave warning signs that a water well may be unsafe,” said Christine Schuyler, director of Health and Human Services. “Debris and mud in the area of the well casing and water or mud stains on the well casing are good indicators that the well was flooded.”

Residents utilizing wells should pump wells until the water runs clear to rid the wells of floodwater.

If a private well has been under water, steps must be taken to ensure that the water is safe to drink. When a drinking water well has been affected by flood waters, the water within the well may be contaminated and unsuitable for drinking. If you believe that your well has been contaminated, do not use it for drinking, cooking, brushing teeth or making ice without boiling it first, or use bottled water.

Once a well is running clear, the water should be disinfected before using it for drinking, cooking or brushing teeth. Changes in the water’s appearance, taste or odor may indicate possible contamination. Disinfecting water by boiling it is the best way to ensure it is safe for drinking or cooking until it can be tested – bring water to a rolling boil for at least one minute and then let the water cool before using it.

If a well has been contaminated with flood waters, it must be disinfected using standard household bleach. Directions for disinfecting a well can be found on the county’s website at co.chautauqua.ny.us/Docu mentCenter/View/179 or by calling Public Health at 753-4481.

After a contaminated well has been properly disinfected and all chlorine has been flushed out of the well and plumbing, the water should be tested for the presence of bacteria to confirm that contamination has been removed. If chlorine odors persist, additional flushing or waiting several days before testing will be required to be sure that all the chlorine has been flushed from the water system.

Until testing shows that the water is free of bacteria, continue to use bottled water or disinfect water for drinking and food preparation. It may be beneficial to re-test the well water again after several weeks. If flooding and groundwater contamination is extensive, the well may be susceptible to recontamination for some time.