Video: Hurricane Sandy – Sussex County, DE EOC Update #7

The latest Hurricane Sandy update from the Sussex County Emergency Operations Center.

Delaware Public Health Call Center: Storm Recovery Support Line Opens Tuesday 12:00 p.m. (Noon)

Residents with questions about flood recovery can contact the Delaware Division of Public Health’s (DPH) Hurricane Sandy call center at 866-408-1899. The call center is scheduled to be open on Tuesday, October 30 at 12:00 p.m. (noon) to 4:30 p.m., and 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday, October 31 to Friday, November 2, 2012. Hours may be subject to change due to call volume and storm conditions. For updated call center hours, follow Twitter #SandyDE or #StormDE.

DPH operators will be able to answer questions about flooded wells, drinking water safety, food safety, mold and other issues; including

  • How do you find out if your food is safe after a power outage or a flood?
  • What to do with a flooded well?
  • How do I disinfect my water?
  • How do you prevent mold after a flood?
  • What is the safest way to clean up a flooded basement?
  • How do you avoid indoor air quality problems?
  • What do I need to do to reopen a food establishment after flooding?

For immediate information, visit for fact sheets on coping with flooding.

Spanish speaking operators will be available. Individuals seeking TTY services should call 7-1-1 or 800-232-5460. A person who is deaf, hard-of-hearing, deaf-blind, or speech-disabled can use a TTY to type his/her conversation to a relay operator, who then reads the typed conversation to a hearing person at the DPH call center. The relay operator relays the hearing person’s spoken words by typing them back to the TTY user. To learn more about TTY availability in Delaware, visit

Delaware Health and Social Services is committed to improving the quality of the lives of Delaware’s citizens by promoting health and well-being, fostering self-sufficiency, and protecting vulnerable populations.

DNREC advises septic system owners on flooding impacts from Hurricane Sandy

DOVER (Oct. 29, 2012) – With Hurricane Sandy’s impacts expected to cause extensive flooding along Delaware’s coastline and some inland areas, DNREC advises septic system owners on how to manage the care of their systems during the storm and in its aftermath.

Should I pump my septic tank?
No. Only after floodwaters have receded should a septic tank be pumped. Under severe conditions tanks can float out of the ground when pumped causing damage to the inlet and outlet pipes. Metal tanks and cesspools can collapse from the water pressure against the sides of the tanks during pumping. The best solution is to drastically reduce your water use and plug all drains in the basement until floodwaters recede.

What do I do with my septic system after the floodwaters have receded?

  • Do not use the septic system until the floodwaters have receded below the water level around the house.
  • Do not open the septic tank for pumping while the soil is still saturated. Mud and silt may enter the tank and end up in the drainfield.
  • Contact a Class F – Liquid Waste Hauler to have your septic tank professionally inspected and pumped as soon as possible after the flood. Pump both the septic tank and the dosing chamber if applicable. While most septic tanks are not damaged by flooding, any silt or debris that has entered the tank needs to be removed to avoid clogging the drainfield area. Contact the Ground Water Discharges Section for a list of Class F Licensed Liquid Waste Haulers. Homeowners should never clean or repair a septic tank due to dangerous gases that can build up in septic tanks.
  • If sewage has backed up into the basement or inside the dwelling, clean the area and disinfect the floor. Use a chlorine solution of a half cup of chlorine bleach to each gallon of water to disinfect the area thoroughly. Avoid dumping any water back into the sink or toilet. Wait until you are certain a backup will not happen again.
  • Flooding of the septic tank may have lifted the layer of fats and greases found inside septic tanks. Some of this scum may have floated and/or partially plugged the outlet tee. If the septic system backs up into the house, check the outlet baffle on the septic tank.
  • Do not drive or operate equipment over the drainfield area. Wet soil is especially susceptible to compaction which can lead to system failure.
  • Be sure the septic tank’s manhole cover is secure and that the inspection ports have not been blocked or damaged.

Also be mindful that floodwaters can become contaminated from both your wastewater and your neighbors’. Use caution and avoid contact as much as possible.

For more advice and assistance in handling your septic system after Hurricane Sandy, please contact the DNREC Division of Water’s Ground Water Discharges Section. For Sussex County residents, please call (302) 856-4561. For Kent and New Castle County residents, please call (302) 739-9947.


Closure of state offices extended until 8 a.m. Tuesday

DOVER  – The closing of State of Delaware offices has been extended until 8 a.m. on Tuesday, October 30th. Non-essential employees are not to report to work for this period. Essential employees are to report as scheduled.

Video: Sussex County EOC Storm Update #6

Sussex County Emergency Operations staff have been posting periodic video updates on Hurricane Sandy. The full list, including the latest, is here: