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Andy Skoogman, Director of Communications
Doug Neville  651-201-7562
March 24, 2010

ST. PAUL — As floodwaters start to recede, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) offers recommendations for people who need to clean up their homes:

·         Oil Cleanup.  If you discover heating oil floating in your basement, report it to the Minnesota Duty Officer by calling 800-422-0798 and your local emergency operations center.  Oil-absorbing sorbent pads and cleanup contractor assistance may be available.  Ventilate the basement and wear rubber gloves during cleanup.  Pump the floodwater down to a level that allows for the placement of sorbent pads on the surface to soak up the oil, but do not allow the oil to come into contact with the basement floor.  As the sorbent pads turn pink, flip them over with a broom handle, rake or pitchfork.  Change the pads as they become saturated.  Oil-soaked pads should be placed in garbage bags, tied or sealed closed, and taken to a city-designated area for disposal.

·         Contaminated (Oil- or Sewage-soaked) Debris: Personal belongings, carpeting and construction materials that have been soaked with oil and are not salvageable will have to be hauled to a transfer facility, incinerator or sanitary landfill.  Check with the local facility before taking debris to it.  Questions, should be directed to the local solid waste coordinator.

·         Fuel Oil Tanks: Check with a fuel oil supplier to determine whether water is present in a fuel oil tank, and for pumping fuel oil-water mixtures out of a tank.

·         Basement Cleaning: Ventilate basements before and during cleaning with chemical solutions.  When basements flood, there’s usually some sewer backup.  After the floodwater and sewage have been removed, it’s important to disinfect the surfaces to eliminate odors and bacteria.  If the basement is contaminated with oil, use a detergent to clean the oil off surfaces.  Plasterboard and paneling should be removed and properly disposed of at a transfer facility, incinerator or sanitary landfill.


Concrete walls, wood supports, ceiling structures and beams will soak up oil like a sponge.  They will need to be replaced or sealed with an epoxy paint sealer once they have dried out.

·         Household Chemicals: Keep all damaged household chemicals separate for later disposal.  Place them in plastic bags or pails and keep the product label with each.  Call your county’s solid waste officer for collection dates.  Also, remember to store chemicals out of the reach of children and pets.


Minnesota residents who have questions about post-flood cleanup, are encouraged to call the MPCA officesin Marshall, Willmar, Detroit Lakes, St. Paul, Rochester, Brainerd or Duluth toll-free at 800-657-3864.


Broadcast version

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency urges Minnesota residents to exercise caution when cleaning up their flood-damaged homes.  First, wear waterproof gloves and boots to protect yourself from contaminants in the floodwater.  And be sure to ventilate your basement while you are cleaning it.


If your find a heating oil slick on the floodwater in your basement, report this to the Minnesota Duty Officer by calling 800-422-0798.  Also report the spill to your local emergency operations center, which will be able to provide sorbent pads for you to use to soak up the oil.  You will know if the oil is heating oil if it is pink.

Ask your county’s solid waste officer what you should do with oil or sewage-soaked debris.


A bulk fuel supplier will be able to determine if your heating fuel has been contaminated with floodwater.


Keep any flood-damaged household chemicals separate for later disposal.  Place them in plastic bag or pails with their labels.




Please hold this release until flooding in your readership, listening or viewing area begins to recede.



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