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Flooding and Illness

Flooding Risks Heading link


The Midwest will have more rain than before and more of it will come down in short time periods. In Illinois we will see more floods, and they will be more severe than they’ve been in the past. Besides causing property damage, floods also impact health. Mold damage to homes – which often happens after homes are flooded – can cause breathing problems. Injuries are common when people drive in floodwaters. Anybody whose home has been flooded also knows that emotional stress levels can get very high.

Water-borne Diseases Heading link

Disease Exposure

Floods can also affect our drinking water. Too much rain can overwhelm the sewage treatment facilities. This is especially true for cities that have combined sewer systems. Many old and large cities, like Chicago, have combined sewer systems. Combined sewer systems are designed to carry sanitary sewage, industrial discharges, and stormwater within the same pipe. When there are heavy rain events, that one pipe cannot manage all of the water and they intentionally allow the pipe to spill over into a local river, lake, or coastal waters. This can possibly allow for raw sewage to get into drinking water sources and recreational waters, which can cause illnesses if consumed. At farms with livestock, flood waters can bring bacteria from the animal waste to drinking water wells. If this happens, sewage can get into the drinking water supply and cause diseases.

Make a Plan Heading link

Source: FEMA, Prepare for Pedro (

You can help prepare your family for a flood by making a plan. This plan should include:

  1. How you will get to a safe place
  2. How you will contact one another
  3. How you will get back together
  4. What you will do in different situations
  5. Different items to have in your house in the event of a disaster.


For more preparation tips, visit these websites:

Vector-borne Illness