The Groundsman

January 2014

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28 HEALTH AND SAFETY the Groundsman January 2014 Floodwater clean-up advice As a result of the severe flooding that the UK experienced in 2007, and grant aid from the IOG, Cranfield University produced an advice sheet following its Flood Damaged Pitches Study. That advice is as timely today as it was then By: Colin Hoskins Flooding at Oxford University Sports Centre s floodwater recedes, any deposited sediment may damage your turf and reduce playability. It may also be a health and safety risk to your staff, members and the wider public. The advice that follows is intended to raise awareness of potential risks to both humans and the environment; it is not meant to be a comprehensive guide to waste handling. While it suggests some 'best practice' strategies and points out some of your responsibilities and obligations, it is not intended to be comprehensive, and you should seek appropriate professional advice from your waste contractor, the Environment Agency or your local authority, where appropriate. A Importantly, this advice is not intended to scaremonger, at what is a difficult time for many organisations dealing with floods. Rather it is intended to inform and point you in the direction of help if required. What are the potential hazards? Hazards include potentially toxic elements (such as heavy metals), organic chemicals (such as diesel and oil) and pathogens (such as E. coli, Salmonella etc.). These pollutants are not present in all sediments – it depends on the source of the floodwater. If the flooding is from rivers, the potential risks are dependent upon the location of industry and waste water treatment plants. Direct flooding Visit for more information and digital editions from sewers or septic tanks is also common in extreme flooding events and the risks will then be from human pathogens in particular. Potentially toxic chemicals are present in the natural environment, or come from industrial sources. The risk to human health is dependent upon the chemical, the pathway, (ie the way in which the element could get into a person or the environment), and the dosage (or level) of the contaminant. Typically these chemicals take a very long time to break down. Under certain conditions, human pathogens can survive for many weeks in the soil, presenting a potential on-going health risk after the flood water recedes.

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