FREDERICTON (CNB) - The provincial government is reminding New Brunswickers to take precautions to protect the environment in the event of a flood.

"Since flood waters and floating debris may cause harmful substances to spill into the environment, New Brunswickers living in areas where flooding is a concern should properly store any substance that may be harmful to the environment," said Environment Minister Roland Haché.

Some household materials are potentially hazardous to the environment and human health. These products should be stored properly to prevent harming the environment.

For example, those with fuel storage tanks are advised to ensure the tank is properly anchored to a concrete pad; the fuel lines are protected from floating debris; and the tank support structure is designed to handle the current forces from a flood. All valves should be closed, and the power should be shut off before leaving the site.

One of the most common problems after a flood is the displacement of containers that hold hazardous materials such as gas, oil and pesticides.

To lessen the affects on the environment during a flood, residents are asked to minimize the amounts and types of materials, kept in or around their home, by buying only what they need.

Homeowners are advised to clearly identify and label contents of drums or other containers, especially when materials are placed in non-original containers. They should sure to place their name and address on larger fuel and propane tanks to facilitate the identification of their contents and their return if they become displaced.

Drums and smaller containers should be stored in areas least susceptible to flood waters such as cabinets, storerooms or fenced areas.

Before a flood, hazardous household waste materials may be disposed of at household hazardous waste collection centres.

For more information on how to dispose of waste material properly, residents may contact their local solid waste association.

"I encourage all New Brunswickers to be good stewards of the environment and ensure that materials that can harm the environment are stored in a safe place where they cannot be reached by flood waters," Haché said. "A healthy, sustainable environment is very important for a self-sufficient New Brunswick by 2026."

For more information visit the Department of Environment's website.