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?

If it is safe to do so, put your waste on the curb side at your property. The material will be collected from the curb side.

Separate waste into the following groups:

  • food waste (use your red lid bin first. If the bin is full put food waste in a container on the curb side)
  • hard bulk waste (furniture, carpets, mattresses)
  • green waste (vegetation)
  • scrap metal (whitegoods and e-waste)
  • hazardous materials (gas bottles, paint, pool chemicals, unlabelled drums)

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

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

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

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?

  • Obtain two thick plastic bags, disposable plastic gloves or washing up gloves
  • Obtain a P2 face mask – from the hardware store.  Masks used for COVID-19 safety won’t protect you
  • Put on the mask and gloves before starting the clean-up
  • Pick up (don’t sweep) the pieces of asbestos and place in plastic bag
  • Remove gloves and face mask and place in plastic bag
  • Knot the top of the plastic bag and then place the knotted plastic bag into the second empty plastic bag and then knot the top
  • Clearly label the bag as asbestos and leave it on the curb side
  • Wash and clean hands thoroughly with soap and water

 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 at a licensed landfill is recommended. Check that your local landfill is open as it may be flood impacted.

Where disposal at a licensed landfill is not an option then onsite burial may be conducted in line with guidance provided in the Primefact sheet below https://www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0005/798089/Primefact-Animal-carcass-disposal.pdf

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