Chautauqua County issues safety tips in case of flooding

CHAUTAUQUA COUNTY, N.Y. (WIVB) – Chautauqua County officials are warning residents to be prepared for potential flooding amid a National Weather Service flood watch issued for Chautauqua, Cattaraugus, Genesee, Niagara, Northern Erie, Orleans, Southern Erie and Wyoming Counties from Thursday morning through late Friday night.

“I urge everyone to be prepared for issues related to flooding and to please use caution,” said Chautauqua County Executive George Borrello in a press release issued Wednesday.  “Our Department of Emergency Services, Department of Health and Human Services, and Department of Public Facilities are all monitoring the flood prone areas of the County, especially Cattaraugus Creek, and are ready to respond if needed.”

Chautauqua County offered the following tips to individuals if flooding occurs:

  •  Avoid walking or driving through floodwater. The deeper the moving water, the greater the threat as six inches of fast-flowing water can knock someone over and two feet of fast-flowing water will carry away most vehicles including SUVs and pickup trucks.
  • Road surfaces become obscured, and drivers can unknowingly steer into a deep body of water, such as a canal or pond
  • Electricity from streetlights and power poles may be active through standing water, causing a deadly shock to anyone coming in contact with it
  • Assume that all flood water contains untreated sewage
  • Stay out of and prevent children from playing in standing water and puddles, which can be contaminated and make them sick
  • People coming into contact with floodwaters should thoroughly rinse any exposed body parts with soap and sanitized or disinfected water
  • Drinking contaminated water may cause illness. If you get your water from a public water system like a city or village, listen to local announcements on the safety of the water supply. If necessary, a boil water notice will be issued for your area.
  • If you have your own well and it is located in an area that was flooded, your water may contain disease-causing organisms and may not be safe to drink.
  • For private wells that have been flooded, boil water for at least one minute before using it for drinking, washing, cooking, etc.; Disinfect water by adding eight drops (about 1/8 tsp. – this would form a puddle about the size of a dime) of unscented household bleach per gallon of water, and then let it stand for 30 minutes. If the water is cloudy after 30 minutes, repeat the procedure; or Use only bottled water, especially for mixing baby formula.

After the flooding subsides, individuals should:

  • Disinfect their wells by using the procedures available from the Health Department at or provided at,
  • Have their water tested for bacteria by the Health Department or by a laboratory certified by New York State to perform a drinking water analysis BEFORE drinking their water again.


Individuals should also not eat any food that may have come into contact with floodwaters. Discard wooden cutting boards, plastic utensils, baby bottle nipples and pacifiers. Thoroughly wash metal pans, ceramic dishes and utensils with soap and hot water and sanitize by boiling them in clean water or by immersing them for 15 minutes in a solution of 1/4 cup of household bleach per gallon of water


For more information, please contact the Environmental Health Division of the Chautauqua County Department of Health and Human Services at (716) 753-4489 or visit . provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review. Note: Comments containing links are not allowed.

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