FREDERICTON (GNB) – Residents impacted by flooding should register any property damage as part of the Disaster Financial Assistance program.

The program is in place to help small businesses, municipalities and individuals who suffered property damage following the current freshet season. The only way to qualify for assistance under the program is to register. To report damages due to flooding, call 1-888-298-8555. For additional information on the program, call 1-888-553-8558.

Registering helps government officials know where help is needed. For example, where to send health and safety inspection teams, and how many teams are needed.

Property owners are encouraged to document any damage with pictures and/or videos, and to save all flood-related receipts.

To date, about 1,800 people have registered for disaster financial assistance. The government is currently looking at options to provide additional assistance for cottage owners. The government will announce the details soon. More information is available online.

The Disaster Financial Assistance covers the qualifying criteria as established by the federal government and is available online.

Military mission completed

The provincial government has remained in close contact with military officials from Joint Task Force Atlantic as part of the recent flood relief efforts. As a result, the military provided support through a Provision of Services Agreement starting on April 30, which included use of the Oromocto Boat Ramp, and modular tents with tables and chairs, heaters, generators and lights. This assistance has helped enable the small boat operations of the Canadian Coast Guard, Department of Fisheries and Oceans and various fire departments. ‎The 5th Canadian Division Support Base Gagetown also supported emergency response by permitting the use of routes through the training area to ensure access to flood-threatened communities.

On May 10, the military expanded their support by assigning members of the 4 Engineer Support Regiment to assist with assessments of critical infrastructure. Ten Critical Infrastructure Assessment Teams were deployed throughout the region. They conducted two assessments on bridges, provided detailed assessments on 130 damaged areas and conducted assessments on 350 km of roads.

As of today, the military has accomplished all of the tasks outlined in the request for federal assistance.

How to help or donate

The public and corporate response to the flood has been significant. While most areas have moved into recovery operations, donations continue, including a recent donation of 100,000 cans of water from Labatt.

Donations can be made to the Canadian Red Cross to support those affected by the flood. Funds will be used for immediate and ongoing relief efforts, long-term recovery, resiliency and preparedness. Donations can be made online at www.redcross.ca or by calling 1-800-418-1111.

Free well-testing kits

The provincial government is providing free bacterial testing of water for the owners of private wells who have been directly affected by recent flooding.

Beginning today, water sampling kits can be picked up at designated Service New Brunswick centres. Water samples will be sent to the Research and Productivity Council laboratory for testing and results will be made available to the owners of the private wells.

Since flooding has been occurring at various locations and at different times, owners of private wells are reminded they must wait 10 days after the flood water has receded from the well area before beginning the chlorination and sampling process. For further information, consult the department’s document on Well Chlorination and Water Testing.

Tipping fees waived for flood-damaged items

People wishing to independently dispose of non-hazardous items may take them to the following locations at no charge: Crane Mountain landfill, Fredericton Region Solid Waste and the Regional Service Commission 8 transfer station. Regular household hazardous waste generated by the flood can also be taken at these facilities. People should inform staff at the gate that they are disposing of flood-damaged items.

·        Fredericton Region Solid Waste Commission: Monday to Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Saturday from 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Closed on Sundays and holidays but will be open on Victoria Day, Monday, May 21.

·        Crane Mountain Landfill, Saint John: Extended hours for flood debris collection from May 19 to June 30; Monday to Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 7 p.m., Saturday 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., closed on Sunday but will be open on Victoria Day.

·        Sussex Transfer Station: Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., closed on Sunday and will be closed on Victoria Day.

Flood debris disposal and pickups

Residents of local service districts are advised of the following special pickups for debris and waste related to the recent flooding.

Waste contractors will do special collections in the following areas: Maugerville, Waterborough, Canning, Chipman, Minto, Sheffield, Jemseg, Lincoln and Rusagonis.

Residents are advised that flood-related waste will be collected as soon as possible but that this may take some time. Crews will follow a collection route and will only stop at each house once during the cleanup so residents are asked to have their items sorted and ready by May 21.

Flood waste includes appliances (remove doors and covers for safety), furniture, carpeting, insulation, paper products, construction debris, etc.

Cleaning

Residents should begin the cleanup of their properties as soon as the water has receded. Past experience has shown that starting the process quickly can help reduce loss and damage. However, residents should only return to their homes when it is safe to do so.

As homeowners return to water-damaged properties, they are advised to remove water-soaked walls and insulation, and allow the space and studding to dry thoroughly. Walls constructed of gyprock, plaster or wood will dry out in time, but insulation in these walls is no longer effective. As insulation becomes water-soaked the weight causes it to settle and compact at the bottom, leaving a large portion of the wall no longer insulated.

Residents should consider the following safety tips when beginning the cleanup process:

  • Wear protective equipment, including gloves, a mask and goggles to protect eyes, mouth and skin during cleanup.
  • Any items that were wet with flood water and cannot be cleaned and dried completely within 24 to 48 hours should be taken outside.
  • Take photos of discarded items for filing insurance claims.
  • Open all doors and windows while working, and leave them open when leaving the house if possible.
  • When electricity is safe to use, use fans and dehumidifiers to remove moisture.
  • If using cleaning products, do not mix them together. Do not mix bleach and ammonia in particular, because it can create toxic vapours.
  • Clean with water and a detergent.
  • Fix the water problem and ensure surfaces are clean and dry before attempting to paint or caulk.
  • Dry the home and everything in it quickly– within 24 to 48 hours is possible.

A website is now available with additional information and links for homeowners as they begin to clean up.

Canadian Red Cross can help

Residents affected by flooding can get assistance by calling the Canadian Red Cross at 1-800-863-6582. People who have already evacuated and did not require accommodations should still register. The registry assists the Red Cross with its support efforts.

The Canadian Red Cross is offering flood cleaning kits to New Brunswickers who are able to safely re-enter their homes and begin cleanup. The free kits can be picked up at its offices at 120 MacDonald St. (Loch Lomond Place) in Saint John and 318 Maple St. in Fredericton from 8:30 a.m. until 7 p.m., including during the weekend. Flood cleaning kits are also now available at Service New Brunswick locations in Fredericton, Burton and Hampton.

There is a limit of one kit per household. The kits are self-contained in a 20-litre (five-gallon) plastic container that also serves as a bucket and lid, and is filled with useful items such as a mop, broom, squeegee, scrub brush, sponges, work gloves and latex gloves, masks, garbage bags and a bleach-based all-purpose cleaner.

Before cleaning a home that was flooded, residents are urged to contact insurers where applicable, and to record and register all damage with Service New Brunswick online.

If residents find sewage has backed up into their home, they should wear rubber boots and waterproof gloves if in contact with water and during cleanup. They should wash their hands with warm water and soap after removing the rubber gloves.

The Public Health website has more details about safe cleanup procedures.

Volunteer opportunities

Samaritan’s Purse Canada is offering its services to assist with cleanup. People looking to volunteer their time to flood relief can contact them at 1-844-547-2663.

Team Rubicon Canada, a veteran-led disaster-relief organization, is on the ground in New Brunswick monitoring the situation and co-operating with government officials.

Sandbag disposal

The Department of Environment and Local Government encourages people to dispose of sandbags via pickups or at their regional landfill.

Residents are reminded that the bags may not be emptied into or within 30 metres of any watercourse or regulated wetland. An alteration permit is required for any work within 30 metres of a watercourse or regulated wetland.

If these options are not viable, people may dispose of their sandbags as part of their flood-related debris.

People are advised to contact one of the department’s regional offices for more information if the sandbags are clearly contaminated (by oil, odour, etc.).

For any questions related to locations of remediation sites and proper disposal of flood-damaged items, contact a regional office of the Department of Environment and Local Government, during regular business hours:

·        Saint John Region, 506-658-2558.

·        Fredericton Region, 506-444-5149