After Belleville received more than 8 inches of rain, and several other metro-east areas had heavy rain and flooding, residents are trying to recover what they can.
While damage assessment is ongoing, reports said as of Wednesday afternoon 15 to 20 homes in Cahokia Heights had been damaged, and local firefighters evacuated two households in Belleville and residents of Caseyville Nursing & Rehabilitation Center.
Some roads were still closed as of Tuesday afternoon, including the Southbound Interstate 255 exit ramp to State Street in East St. Louis and other areas.
We’ve rounded up some information about flood recovery for those who have water in their homes.
Most flood damage is not covered by typical home insurance plans. You should consult your home insurance policy and flood insurance policy for possible coverage, if you have those plans. Be sure to document damage through taking photos and videos, if you can safely do so.
Here’s what else to know, from the Illinois Department of Public Health, including best safety practices for those in communities that have experienced flooding and what you can do after your home is flooded.
What should you do when there’s water in your basement?
If your basement is flooded, you may need to first call a professional to pump out remaining standing water after the flood has receded below the basement level.
After a professional has determined it’s safe to enter your basement, you can begin to examine debris and figure out what can be saved.
When discarding debris, strain water away from the trash. After straining trash, IDPH advises to wrap it in newspaper and store it in a covered garbage can until it’s picked up.
Depending on the severity of the damage, you may need to replace rugs, carpets and paneling.
The IDPH says exposure to floodwater can cause infections, rashes, gastrointestinal illness and tetanus. The agency advises people to avoid contact with floodwater as much as possible, but to wear rubber boots and rubber gloves if you must enter the water for recovery efforts.
You should wash your hands after coming in contact with floodwater, IDPH says, and do not allow children to play with toys that have been contaminated with floodwater until they are disinfected.
What about floodwater surrounding furniture or in the kitchen?
You or a hired professional should clean hard surfaces with a bleach and water solution (no more than 1 cup of bleach per gallon of water). It’s also possible you’ll be able to disinfect drapes this way.
IDPH advises people to discard any food that’s been exposed to floodwaters, and use only bottled water for drinking, bathing, brushing teeth and cooking until you’re sure the water supply is safe.
If floodwater has entered your refrigerator or freezer, throw away the food inside. You can still eat food in intact, undented cans after disinfecting the can with a bleach solution.
Meredith Howard is a service journalist with the Belleville News-Democrat. She is a Baylor University graduate and has previously freelanced with the Illinois Times and the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting.