VERMONT — In response to the wreckage caused by Tropical Storm Irene, Vermont agencies and legislators this week released a deluge of information, warnings and guidelines surrounding safety precautions, cleanup methods and rebuilding efforts. Here’s a roundup:
• Health Commissioner Harry Chen warned that drinking water wells located near floodwaters or that were covered by floodwaters should be tested before the water is consumed. Therefore, the Vermont Department of Health (DOH) is offering Vermonters free water tests for private drinking water wells. For more information call, toll-free, 1-800-439-8550.
For those residents that have experienced flooding near their well, the DOH recommends — until a clean confirmation test is returned — boiling water for one minute before drinking.
• The Agency of Natural Resources said that all flood debris can be disposed of in the same container except for: toxins, pesticides, explosives gasoline, pool chemicals, acids, drain cleaner, fireworks, flares, ammunition and sharp objects. Car batteries, rechargeable batteries, electronics, hazardous waste and mercury products like fluorescent bulbs, thermostats and thermometers also require quarantining. Oil brake cleaner, oil-based paint, stain, varnish, paint thinner, fuel cylinders, tires and large appliances like refrigerators, freezers, stoves, washers, dryers and scrap metal also require quarantined disposal.
For more information about disposal of these hazardous products, contact the Waste Management Division of the Department of Environmental Conservation at 802-241-388.
• The Agency of Natural Resources is willing to work with communities to correct in-stream problems created by the flooding. Such work will assist with: relocating streams, reestablishing stream channel capacity, stabilizing streams and reestablishing stream crossings.
The state would like to review certain flood mitigation efforts, such as: building berms, re-establishing channels, straightening channels and stabilizing banks.
For more information, contact Patrick Ross, state river management engineer, at 802-279-1143.
• Efficiency Vermont is available to assist individuals replacing damaged insulation and can provide financial aid for replacement of heating and hot water systems. For help finding a contractor or information regarding house renovations, efficiency upgrades and safety, call, toll-free, 1-888-921-5990.
Reporter Andrew Stein is at [email protected]