The Hidden Dangers of Storm Drains During a Flood

With extreme weather often comes flooding, and the results can be devastating—for more reasons than you might expect. We’re used to seeing flooded neighborhoods on the news and social media. Sometimes the photos are devastating, but you might also see humorous photos and videos of people using floodwater as their own street-wide swimming pool.

Although they might seem to be making the best of a bad situation, swimming in floodwater is unsafe (as is drinking and bathing in it). Keep your family safe by staying out of floodwater—no matter how much you might want to turn your street into your own water park. Here’s a closer look at how floods and storm drain dangers in Bethel, OH can harm your family:

  • Storm drains, pipes, and manholes create harmful suction: In addition to what’s inside them, storm drains can create powerful suction as floodwaters start to recede. As the drains lurk just under the water, small children and sometimes even adults can be sucked into the drains and drown, not being found until their bodies wash up in lakes or rivers. Once a child is sucked into an underground drainage pipe, there’s often no way to rescue them.
  • Hidden rocks, ditches and other flaws: Floodwater can also hide rocks, ditches, potholes and other conditions that can cause injury. Children and adults alike can be knocked unconscious by hidden obstacles. Potholes can cause injury when someone trips or turns their ankle. This also increases the risk of being pulled under the water.
  • Sinkholes: Sinkholes can open up during floods, creating a powerful force that can break water mains, cables, wires and gas pipes. Sinkholes should not be approached, as they can easily become bigger at any time. Be wary of structures around a sinkhole—the ground can be unstable, causing buildings to collapse.
  • Raw sewage: Would you swim in your toilet? Probably not. When you swim or play in floodwater, however, you’re exposing yourself and your family to urine, feces, used feminine hygiene products and other biological waste you don’t want coming into contact with your skin, nose, ears or mouth. Swimming in raw sewage poses a serious health risk—it’s not worth it.
  • Hazardous waste: What’s even more unappealing than swimming in raw sewage? Swimming in the hazardous materials that can end up in drains, including gasoline, oil, antifreeze, chemicals, dead and decaying animals or vegetation, pesticides, herbicides and more. Save the inflatables for sunnier days.

Ultimately, although floods can look like an opportunity for fun once the immediate danger has passed, they pose serious health and safety risks to your family. When your neighborhood floods, follow your city’s safety instructions so that you’ll get through it safely. Do your best to stay away from contact with floodwater, and only drink and bathe in potable water.

Gullett Sanitation Services Inc. partners with the city of Bethel for storm drain maintenance. For more tips on how to avoid the dangers of a storm drain in Bethel, OH, contact our team of experts today! We’ve been serving the area since 1942 and are eager to meet your needs.

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