Storms and Floods recovery information

Public health and assistance information following March storms and floods

The Singleton Local Government Area has formally received a Natural Disaster Declaration following severe storms and floods that occurred from 10 March 2021.

 The declaration has activated practical and immediate support and financial assistance through Commonwealth and State disaster funding arrangements. The assistance is to help people get back on their feet and assist councils to start important recovery work.

NSW Disaster Assistance Guidelines 2021

Health information:

WASTE LEVY WAVED AT WASTE MANAGEMENT FACILITY FOR STORM AND FLOOD RELATED WASTE

Following on from the natural disaster declaration for Singleton, the NSW Government has advised that storm and flood related waste will be exempt from the Waste Levy collected on materials taken to the Singleton Waste Management Facility. 

This means Singleton residents disposing of debris and waste created as a result of the March 2021 storms and floods will not pay the waste levy component of the gate fee until 30 June 2021.

Fees per tonne excluding the waste levy are as follows:

  • C&D Mixed : $310.90
  • C&I Mixed: $286.90
  • C&I Vegetation: $302.90
  • Concrete: $118.90
  • Mixed (household): $310.90
  • Vegetation (household): $181.90

Proof of residency must be presented on arrival to the weighbridge, and the waste being disposed of must be a direct result of the clean up from the March 2021 floods and storms.


FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE

For information on all available disaster assistance, please contact the Disaster Customer Care Service at Service NSW on 13 77 88 or online via service.nsw.gov.au

 Service NSW is working in partnership with other State agencies, local government and the Australian Government to provide impacted people with information on and access to:

  • Accommodation advice
  • Relevant charitable services
  • Mental health and wellbeing services
  • Support for businesses
  • Clean-up services
  • Financial assistance
  • Insurance and legal support

The Contact Centre hours have been extended to between 7am and 7pm and to weekends while communities recover.

The Disaster Relief Grant helps people to recover from the effects of a disaster and re-establish a basic standard of living. It is not provided to replace insurance or compensate for losses.

You may be eligible for financial support if the following apply: 

  • your home (primary place of residence) was damaged by a natural disaster 
  • you do not have insurance for the damage 
  • you are a low-income earner with limited financial resources 
  • it has been less than four (4) months since the disaster.

 Phone 13 77 88 and ask about the Disaster Relief Grant administered by Resilience NSW.

This is an NSW Government disaster assistance payment available at any time to eligible individuals or households. 

The Disaster Recovery Payment is a one-off, non-means tests payment of $1,000 for adults and $400 for children, who have been seriously injured, lost their homes or whose homes have been directly damaged, or the immediate family members of a person who has lost their life, as a direct result of the storms and floods. 

 This is an Australian Government disaster assistance payment.

 Visit Services Australia at www.servicesaustralia.gov.au/disaster to find out if you are eligible, or phone 180 22 66.

 The Disaster Recovery Allowance provides a short-term income support payment to assist individuals whose income has been affected as a direct result of the storms and floods, for up to 13 weeks.

This is an Australian Government disaster assistance payment.

Visit Services Australia at www.servicesaustralia.gov.au/disaster to find out if you are eligible, or phone 180 22 66.

 

REPLACING LOST DOCUMENTS

The NSW Registry of Births Deaths & Marriages can assist with the replacement of Birth, Death and Change of Name certificates, waiving associated replacement fees for Australia and New Zealand born citizens. 

 Phone Service NSW on 13 77 88 or visit https://www.nsw.gov.au/births-deaths-marriages 

 

INSURANCE  

The Insurance Council of Australia (ICA) has declared a catastrophe for large parts of NSW following storms and floods.

The declaration will assist in prioritising the insurance industry’s response for affected policyholders and if you are a policyholder and need to make an insurance claims, you can expect to be given priority by insurers.

 For advice and guidance phone the ICA hotline on 1800 734 621. 

Note: Claims cannot be made via this hotline. 

 

LEGAL AID

For help with legal problems including insurance claims and disputes, financial hardship, tenancy and Centrelink, visit the Disaster Response Legal Service at disasterhelp.legalaid.nsw.gov.au/how-we-can-help or phone 1800 801 529 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday.

 

 CLEANING YOUR PROPERTY

  •  Do not enter a damaged building or structure, unless deemed safe to do so by authorities.
  • Contact your insurance company directly and take plenty of photos of any property and contents damage before removing and disposing of items.
  • If removing/moving waste, remember to practice basic hygiene and use appropriate personal protective equipment including dust mask, gloves, covered shoes/boots and full-length clothing cover for arms and legs.
  • If using disinfectants and/or other cleaners, follow safety advice on labels and do not touch eyes and face.
  • Be alert to snakes, spiders, rats and other wildlife that may have taken refuge in the building, structure or furniture. 
  • Each area affected by floodwater within the building needs to be cleaned and dried. This includes fridges and cupboards. Wall and floor cavities should be checked for mud, debris and floodwater. If items are not completely dry mould or mildew may develop.
  • Floodwater may be contaminated with sewage and chemicals. Contact with floodwater can lead skin and stomach infections and other rare but serious conditions such as leptospirosis. 

 Mosquito Infestations

During periods of flooding mosquito numbers could rapidly increase and cause nuisance. 

 Personal protection measures include:

  • avoid going outside when mosquitoes are most prevalent, including around dawn and dusk
  • use an effective repellent on exposed skin areas
  • cover up as much as possible with loose fitting clothing and sensible footwear
  • limit the number of places around your home for mosquitoes to breed by getting rid of items that hold water or by emptying the containers
  • provide mosquito netting, where necessary—both indoors and outdoors

 Mould

Flood-inundated homes and buildings provide the perfect conditions for mould to grow.

People with asthma, allergies, or other breathing conditions may be more sensitive to mould. People with weakened immune systems and with chronic lung diseases are more at risk of mould infection particularly in their lungs.

For advice visit Mould - Fact sheets (nsw.gov.au) 

Other information


LIVESTOCK AND ANIMAL WELFARE

The Department of Primary Industries (DPI) and Local Land Services (LLS) are aiding landholders and communities with animal welfare-related issues resulting from the floods, including:

  • Animal assessment and veterinary assistance
  • Stock euthanasia and burial
  • Emergency fodder (up to three days supply)
  • Emergency stock water (where there is an immediate animal welfare concern)
  • Livestock feeding and management advice
  • Care of animals in evacuation centres

 Phone the Agricultural and Animal Services Hotline on 1800 814 647.

 

 HELP FOR SMALL BUSINESS

The NSW Small Business Commissioner has support services for small business owners who have suffered direct damage to their assets or loss of income following statewide flooding. 

Loans of up to $130,000 at a fixed concessional interest rate may be available to small businesses, primary producers and non-profits (subject to certain eligibility criteria) that have been directly impacted. 

 For information on what supports are available visit www.smallbusiness.nsw.gov.au or phone 1300 795 534. 

 

 MENTAL HEALTH SUPPORT

The NSW Government recognises the trauma associated with disasters and recognises early treatment can make significant long differences to mental health.

Recovery from disasters takes time and mental health supports will aid the long-term recovery of our impacted communities.

 Phone the NSW Mental Health Line at any time on 1800 011 511.   

GENERAL INFORMATION

It's important to keep your health and safety in mind and know how to reduce risks when cleaning up after storms and floods.

The following fact sheets have been supplied by NSW Health, which provide information and advice for maintaining your health during and after storms and floods.

INFORMATION FOR HOUSEHOLDS

POWER OUTAGE ADVICE

  • Keep your refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible.
  • Place refrigerated food together to keep food cool/colder longer.
  • If food is warm for longer than 4 hours, throw the food out.
  • Place meat, poultry or fish in the coldest section of your refrigerator, making sure it doesn’t drip onto fresh fruit and vegetables or other ready to eat foods.

HOW LONG WILL MY FOOD STAY COLD?

  • A closed refrigerator should keep your food cool for 4 - 6 hours.
  • Kept closed, a full freezer should keep your food frozen for up to 48 hours, while a half full freezer should keep your food frozen for up to 24 hours.
  • Food that is not within these limits should be discarded.
  • The rate of thaw depends on:
    • The amount of food. A full freezer stays colder for longer than a partially full freezer.
    • Temperature of the food. The colder the food, the longer it will stay frozen.
    • Size and insulation of the freezer.

WHAT TO DO IF THE POWER COMES BACK ON

  • If the power is restored within 4 to 6 hours and your refrigerator/freezer doors have remained closed, some of your food may still be suitable for use. Ideally check the temperature of foods using a thermometer; Cold food must be below 5˚C.
  • Foods in the freezer can be re-frozen if they are 0 degrees Celsius or lower or if ice crystals are visible in the food, otherwise throw out
  • Appearance or smell is not a reliable indicator of food safety. Some foods may look and smell fine, but if they have been warm too long, they may contain enough bacteria to make people ill. You should discard any food that has an obvious strange colour or odour. If in doubt, throw it out!

WASTEWATER MANGAGEMENT SYSTEMS

Major storm and/or flood events are likely to affected wastewater management systems.

If your AWTS or Septic has been covered by flood waters or has been inundated by stormwater, it is likely that the system is a risk to public health. The uncontrolled ingress of stormwater into a septic tank can flood untreated wastewater out of the tank and into the surrounding environment and waterways. Disease-causing organisms (pathogens) in wastewater can cause serious illness such as hepatitis. Waterborne pathogens can then be widespread once in water and can have major impacts on public health.

WHAT TO DO PRIOR TO AN EMERGENCY EVENT

  1. Sand banking or drainage works around the treatment tank to prevent ingress of stormwater into the system.
  2. Prevent any traffic (human, animal or vehicular) onto the disposal area, this may damage disposal systems and may be saturated with untreated effluent. If you have an Aerated Wastewater Treatment System (AWTS) it is important to ensure the power is off to the system before conducting any works.

WHAT TO DO AFTER AN EMERGENCY EVENT

In the event that your onsite wastewater system has overflowed or flooded from a storm event

  1. Do not access wastewater tank or disposal area if the tank has overflowed or flooded. These areas may be contaminated with untreated sewage which may pose a risk to your health and safety.
  2. Organise a pump-out of the AWTS or septic system to ensure all untreated effluent is removed. Discuss with operator of the pump-out vehicle methods to ensure that the tank does not float out of the ground especially when the surrounding soil is saturated (for both AWTS and Septic Systems).
  3. If you have an Aerated Wastewater Treatment System immediate contact should be made to your service provider to conduct an emergency service on the system. All service reports are to be sent to Council immediately following the service.
  4. After the pump-out of the system cleaning of the tank and surround area is required. This can be done by spreading lime or diluting visible matter with water after the storm event.
  5. Ensure that there is no likelihood of contamination of drinking water from the flooded septic.

CAN I STILL USE MY TOILET?

It is recommended that you still use your toilet and facilities connected to the wastewater system as usual. Do not dispose of untreated wastewater in any other way. However reduction of effluent into the system is recommended until the system returns to normal operating standards. Reducing the amount of toilet flushes and showers is preferable.