Extension and Ag Research News


Be Prepared for Flooding in Rural Areas

The NDSU Extension Service has information to help protect rural residents, livestock and crops from flooding.

Melting snow is causing flooding in several rural areas.

Here is some advice from the North Dakota State University Extension Service on how to protect rural residences and other structures, livestock and crops from flooding:

Protecting Your Home and Other Structures

  • Test your sump pump to make sure it is operating properly.
  • Move snow away from building foundations.
  • Build small ditches to divert water away from your property.
  • Get downspouts in place so that as snow melts, they will carry the water away from your house.
  • Build a dike around your home or other structure. See NDSU Extension publication AE-626, “Sandbagging for Flood Protection,” for information on the correct way to build a dike. It’s available online at http://www.ag.ndsu.edu/pubs/ageng/safety/ae626w.htm.
  • Put appliances such as washers, dryers and freezers up on wood or cement blocks to keep the motors above water level. Also put furniture on blocks or move it to a higher location.
  • Shut off power to flood-threatened electrical appliances at the fuse box or breaker panel. Also shut off power to parts of the home or other structure that might flood.
  • Move valuables, such as irreplaceable family photos, high school yearbooks, tax records, insurance policies and household inventories, and hazardous material, such as agricultural chemicals, paint, oil and cleaning supplies, to higher locations.
  • If your septic system’s drain field is flooded or saturated, plug all basement drains and drastically reduce water use in the house. Repair any leaking fixtures. Don’t do the following: run water from a basement sump pump into the septic system, let water from roof gutters or the sump pump discharge into the drain field, use the dishwasher or garbage disposal or do laundry.
  • Plug floor drains if flooding is occurring next to the house. Plug basement floor drains with removable plugs available from hardware stores. You also can use a durable, flexible rubble ball about 1 1/4 times the inside diameter of the drain pipe. Brace the ball with a 2-inch by 4-inch board against the ceiling.
  • Unbolt toilets from the floor and plug the outlet pipe using the same procedure as for plugging floor drains. Also plug shower drains and washing machine and basement sink drain connections the same way.
  • Tie down lumber, logs, irrigation pipes, fuel tanks and other loose equipment or material to keep it from floating away in floodwater.
  • Move motors and portable electric equipment to a dry location.
  • Use material such as heavy plastic and duct tape to seal your well cap and top of the well casing to keep floodwater out.
  • Place riprap on the banks of earthen manure storage areas where flowing water may erode berms.
  • Have an emergency power source, such as a standby generator.
  • Assemble supplies, such as water, food that doesn’t require refrigeration or cooking, a nonelectric can opener, battery-powered flashlight and radio and extra batteries, in case your electricity goes off.

Protecting Your Livestock and Crops

  • Be sure cattle are properly immunized in case they are exposed to floodwater.
  • Move machinery, feed and grain to a higher elevation. The upper level in a two-story barn makes a good storage area.
  • Move livestock to higher ground.
  • If you have dairy cattle, develop plans for moving your cows to temporary milking facilities and learn about emergency milk pick-up services available in your area.

For more information on preparing for a flood, visit the NDSU Extension Service’s flood information Web site at http://www.ag.ndsu.edu/disaster/flood.html.

NDSU Agriculture Communication

Source:Ken Hellevang, (701) 231-7243, kenneth.hellevang@ndsu.edu
Editor:Ellen Crawford, (701) 231-5391, ellen.crawford@ndsu.edu
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