DEC/Haz Mat Guidance to Municipalities and others responding to requests for pumping flooded basements:
If you are taking the lead on assisting residents or businesses with flooded basements or other flooded containers please consider the following guidelines:
If there is oil floating on the liquid surface, take all practical precautions not to pump the oil with the water. If equipment is not available, upon request the Spill Response Team can be contacted to provide assistance with contractors experienced in this type of work, using the proper equipment to separate the oil
from the water. The water should be pumped to a grassy area, if possible, in order to provide additional
treatment for dissolved contamination that may be present. If this 'overland' flow is not possible or practical, then the water can be pumped to a storm drain. Recoverable oils or other hazardous wastes should be properly containerized and stored for proper disposal when possible.
Please do not hesitate to request technical and resource assistance from the Vermont Dept of Environmental Conservation (DEC) - Call 211 or 800-641-5005 and ask for the Vermont Hazardous Materials Response Team or DEC Spill Team.
If there is no contamination evident, then the Fire Department or other municipal resources may be used topump the basement directly to the ground (preferably) or storm drains.
If there are sediments in the water being pumped, and permission is obtained from the municipal wastewater treatment plant, the liquid may be pumped to a tanker truck and discharged to the treatment plant.
Once the liquids are pumped, we often find that there are residual materials that, while essentially uncontaminated, are difficult to manage because they are too wet to go to a landfill, and not acceptable for discharge to a sanitary or storm sewer or to the property involved. One option is to construct a temporary basin to drain the residual material until it is dry enough to transport to a landfill. Again, the Spill Response Team can assist with technical questions about the management of these residual materials.
George Desch, Director
Waste Management and Prevention Division
Department of Environmental Conservation
Vermont Agency of Natural Resources