Storm Drain Overflow and Disease

Periods of heavy rain can sometimes cause water to flood basements, homes, and yards. Normally, the water involved in this flooding is only excess rain and surface water or storm drain overflow. However, storm drain overflow can sometimes contain fecal material from overflowing sewage systems, sewers, or agricultural and industrial by-products. Although skin contact with these waters does not by itself pose a serious risk, there is some risk that disease can be transmitted from eating/drinking anything exposed to these waters or if contaminated hands, objects, or water comes in contact with open sores or mucous membranes such as the mouth, eyes, or nose.

Health Precautions

If your property or home is exposed to storm drain overflow, the following guidelines can be taken to help protect you and your family from disease.

  • Do not allow children to play in flood water areas or with water-contaminated balls, toys, or other objects that have not been properly disinfected.
  • Avoid exposing open sores/cuts to water; keep them clean and covered.
  • Wash your hands, especially after bathroom use, before eating, and immediately following contact with flood water or objects/surfaces exposed to water.

To disinfect water-exposed surfaces and objects:

  • Wash thoroughly with warm water and soap.
  • Disinfect using a chlorine bleach solution of one cap of bleach per gallon of water.



For more information, call the Water Quality Division at 513.946.7966 or visit


Download a printable version of this fact sheet here.


250 William Howard Taft Road
2nd Floor, Cincinnati, OH 45219
Phone 513.946.7800 Fax 513.946.7890