NSW Storm and Flood Clean up Program

Flood and storm impacted people and businesses can now access all available State Government and Federal Government support, through the NSW Government’s Disaster Customer Care program, by calling Service NSW on 13 77 88 or visiting www.service.nsw.gov.au

How do I protect myself when cleaning my property?

  • Always wear gloves to avoid direct contact with the skin, and to protect yourself from injury while using tools and implements
  • Wear protective footwear that covers your skin adequately to avoid direct contact with rotting vegetation and compost
  • When collecting and removing rotting material such as spoiled food or vegetation, always wear a dust mask
  • Wash your hands after dealing with rotting food
  • While cleaning up, be mindful of materials containing asbestos and take appropriate precautions. See section on asbestos.

What do I need to do with waste material?

Where teams and local emergency personnel, council and partnering NSW Government agencies identify ongoing clean-up needs that are still required after the Immediate Relief Teams have moved through an area, the NSW and Commonwealth Governments have funded your local council and a coordinated program of assistance to help communities in this phase.

If you are in in a Disaster-Declared area your local council is your initial point of contact to seek assistance, or phone Service NSW on 13 77 88 for information on what assistance is available and to be referred to appropriate support.

If you are not in a Local Government Area (LGA) covered by the Immediate Relief Teams, liaise with your council regarding the arrangements for clean-up practices particular to your locality.

You can start managing your waste by separating it into the following groups:

• hard bulk waste (furniture, carpets, mattresses)
• green waste (vegetation)
• scrap metal (whitegoods and e-waste)
• food waste (use your red lid bin first. If the bin is full put food waste in a container on the kerb or roadside)

Separating waste into the different waste types means we will be able to send the right waste to the right place and save valuable landfill space.

Hazardous chemicals

Household hazardous waste includes materials such as acids and alkalis, brake fluids and coolants, car care products, cleaning products, paint, pesticides, insecticides, rodenticides, herbicides and other garden chemicals, polishes, pool chemicals, solvents (including paint thinners, turpentine) and varnishes and stains.

Appropriate handling and personal protective equipment must be used when handling hazardous chemicals requiring disposal, particularly gloves.

Keep hazardous materials aside for specialist disposal as directed by your local council or based on provisions at your nearest Community Recycling Centre. Community Recycling Centres are for common household problem wastes that can’t be collected via council kerbside waste and recycling collection services. NSW householders can drop off problem wastes at these centres free of charge. Review what Community Recycling Centres can take here: https://www.epa.nsw.gov.au/your-environment/recycling-and-reuse/household-recycling-overview/community-recycling-centres

Asbestos

Asbestos is hazardous but you can manage it safely.

  • If your house was built before 1990, it is likely to contain asbestos
  • It could be in the form of flat or corrugated sheets (fibro) used for walls, ceilings and roofing, or in products such as pipes, electrical conduit, eaves or the backing under vinyl flooring.
  • Find out what asbestos looks like and where it could be at nsw.gov.au  
  • If you find asbestos debris on your property you can safely remove it yourself if you wish. Follow the advice from NSW Fire and Rescue.
  • Keep asbestos waste separated from other waste you are removing, and do not put it in red bins or skip bins. This is really important to keep your community, volunteers and clean-up crews safe.

If I decide to deal with flood-affected asbestos myself, what should I do?

  • It is legal to remove asbestos yourself, but we strongly recommend asbestos is removed by a licensed removalist. There is no safe level of exposure to asbestos.
  • If you decide to remove the asbestos yourself, then you will need to follow strict safety standards including wearing a P2 face mask. Use the right tools and safety gear, understand how to decontaminate yourself afterwards, and how to safely transport and dispose of the asbestos. You need to keep yourself, your family and your neighbours safe.
  • If you need to transport more than 10m2 or 100kg of asbestos waste, you will need to use the EPA’s WasteLocate system. This applies whether you remove asbestos yourself, or if a professional does it. We strongly recommend you use a licensed asbestos removalist, who will know how to use WasteLocate and help you comply with the law.
  • If you decide to pay someone to remove the asbestos, they must follow the legal requirements around asbestos removal including a strict Code of Practice and all Workplace Health and Safety (WHS) laws.
    A licensed asbestos removalist must be used to remove any amount of loose/friable asbestos or more than 10m2 of non-friable (bonded) asbestos material (e.g., fibro).
  • All asbestos waste must be disposed of at a waste facility that can receive this type of waste. Tip fees for the disposal of flood generated asbestos waste will be waived by your local council.
  • For advice on removal, transport and disposal of asbestos waste materials, including how to keep safe when removing it yourself, visit www.asbestos.nsw.gov.au or phone the Environment Line on 131 555.
  • Licensed asbestos removalists operating in your area can be found on the SafeWork NSW website https://www.safework.nsw.gov.au/asbestos-and-demolition-licence-holders or by phoning 13 10 50.

 Animal carcass disposal

Carcass disposal should occur as soon as possible after the animal has died. Carcasses should be handled as little as possible. Where possible machine (excavator or backhoe) should be used to handle the carcass.

Appropriate personal protective equipment should be worn when handling a carcass, including gloves, leather or rubber boots, clothes that cover exposed skin, eye protection and a P2 face mask.

Particular attention should be paid to avoid contact with any body fluids from the dead animal.Disposal to a licensed landfill is the preferred option in most instances, especially where there are many carcasses of large animals or other onsite issues related to animal size, soil type, water table.

Landholders should register for assistance with Service NSW if they need assistance with carcass disposal or contact your Department of Primary Industry contact or the Agricultural and Animal Services Hotline on 1800 814 647.

How do I clean my flood affected property?

  • Each area affected by floodwater within the house needs to be cleaned, including empty refrigerators and cupboards.
  • Wash mud, dirt and debris from your house with a hose, starting at the highest point and working down to ground level.
  • Where possible, remove all wet items such as floor coverings, rugs, mats, furniture, bedding, linen and clothing. If floor coverings are removed, thoroughly clean and dry the floor underneath before new material is laid.
  • Begin drying out the house as soon as floodwaters recede – open doors and windows during dry days, use fans where possible, check for trapped water and mud in wall or floor cavities.
  • Hard-surfaced floors, walls, benches and sinks should be thoroughly cleaned with hot soapy water and disinfected by wiping or spraying surfaces with a chlorine bleach solution (see below) or a product labelled as a disinfectant. Once disinfected, allow to dry.
  • Flood-affected mattresses are difficult to treat and may need to be discarded.
  • Furniture, such as lounge chairs, may be air dried in the sun then sprayed thoroughly with a disinfectant solution. Consult a local furniture renovating company if you are unsure about their condition.
  • Soft toys should be discarded, solid toys should be washed and then disinfected.

More information to help you clean up your house and kitchen is available here:

https://www.health.nsw.gov.au/emergency_preparedness/weather/Pages/household-cleanup.aspx

https://www.health.nsw.gov.au/emergency_preparedness/weather/Pages/kitchen-cleanup.aspx

Flood and storm impacted people and businesses can now access all available State Government and Federal Government support, through the NSW Government’s Disaster Customer Care program, by calling Service NSW on 13 77 88 or visiting www.service.nsw.gov.au