Thanks to the Windham Regional Commission for providing more detail on how to handle clean-up safely!
How can people stay safe while cleaning up?
This is an important question as the community comes together to help each other rebound and recover. But remember – with all of the propane tanks, vehicles, and other debris swept up in the river, and it is impossible to tell what contaminants mud will contain. It is also a health concern when the mud dries into dust that can become airborne.
Vermont’s Chief of Environmental Health recommends that anyone undertaking clean up do the following:
- Wear boots, long pants, gloves, N95 NIOSH-approved disposal respirator (looks like a surgeon’s mask, available in hardware stores)
- Wash hands and shower after work
- Leave work clothing outside – do not wear inside and move potential contaminants along
If you see or smell fuel, contact the 24-hour Hazardous Materials Spills Hotline at 1-800-641-5005. Response from that may be days away, but that soil will need special contractors to remove and dispose.
Please consider this when you clean up your site, especially if there are children or other sensitive populations helping with your efforts. (Children under 18 should NOT be involved directly with cleanup of contaminated areas.) Good luck and stay safe!