Health Department



  facebook    twitter Health building front


920-262-8096 - FAX

For after hours public health emergencies,
please contact Watertown Police Department Disptach at 920-261-6660.

With more rain possible, check out these tips for dealing with flooding!

High Water

Flood Waters 

  • Stay out of flood waters, if at all possible. Flood water may contain many contaminants, including raw sewage, gasoline, pesticides, bacteria, and sharp objects.
  • Do not bathe, swim, or drink from lakes, rivers, streams, or in other water affected by flooding. Do your best to keep pets away from flood waters, it at all possible.
  • Avoid exposure of open wounds to flood waters to avoid infection. If exposed, clean with soap and water as soon as possible, and apply an antibiotic ointment. If wound develops redness, swelling, or oozing, seek immediate medical attention.
  • Do not drive through flooded areas. Turn around, don’t drown. 

Property Assessment and Removal 

  • Be sure flooding zones have been secured and that hazardous conditions have been eliminated, including electrical hazards. If you have concerns, contact a building inspector or the utility company.
  • If your basement is flooded with standing water, remove water gradually. If you drain your basement too quickly, the water pressure outside the walls will be greater than the water pressure inside, which may cause the basement floor and walls to crack and collapse.
  • Damaged or wet flooring, carpeting, furniture, drywall, insulation, books, children’s stuffed animals, etc., should be removed and disposed of to prevent mold growth.
  • Dry and ventilate your home as much as possible. When electricity is safe, use fans and dehumidifiers.
  • Keep portable generators at least 20 feet away from your home when in use and point the exhaust away from homes or people.
  • Wash all flood-contaminated clothing with hot water and laundry detergent, separate from other clothing. 

Cleaning and Sanitizing with Bleach 

  • To clean household surfaces with visible mold growth:
    • Mix 1 cup of household bleach with 1 gallon of water.
    • Wash surfaces with bleach mixture. Scrub rough surfaces with a stiff brush.
    • Allow to air dry.
  • To clean and sanitize household surfaces without visible mold growth:
    • Clean surfaces with a detergent (e.g., dish, laundry) and warm, clean water.
    • Rinse with clean water.
    • Sanitize using a mixture of 1 cup of household bleach with 5 gallons of water. Wash surfaces with mixture.
    • Allow to air dry.
  • Always be cautious when using bleach by using proper personal protective equipment (e.g., mask, googles, and gloves). Never mix cleaning products containing ammonia or acids with bleach. 

Additional Mold Information 

  • Those with respiratory conditions, such as asthma, should avoid mold cleanup areas after a flooding event.
  • For mold cleanup:
    • Wear an N-95 mask, gloves, and boots.
    • Never mix products containing ammonia with bleach, as a harmful gas will form and can cause serious injury.
  • Mold testing is not recommended.
  • Dry out water-damaged areas thoroughly, and keep ventilating during cleanup (i.e., open windows, use fans, etc.). 

Well and Drinking Water Issues 

  • Well water test kits are available. When in doubt, do not drink or use the water if the water is cloudy, colored or smells bad.
  • Fee-exempt well test kits are also available to affected private well owners. County and tribal health agencies should contact the State Lab of Hygiene at 1-800-442-4618 to request fee-exempt test kits and forms, or to discuss the use of existing well test kits.
  • The Department of Health Services (DHS) and the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) recommend that private well owners in flooded areas wait until flood waters recede, disinfect according to DNR guidance, and test for total coliform and E. coli bacteria by a certified laboratory. 

Additional Resources 

What should you do if you see a downed power lines?

downed power line

Avoid touching or approaching a fallen power line 

Downed power lines are dangerous. Never touch them. For safety’s sake, always assume that a fallen power line is live, and
follow these guidelines:

  • Avoid touching the downed line with your hand or an object, such as a stick, broom or pole.
  • Avoid touching anything, such as a car, object or equipment, or anyone who is in contact with a fallen power line.
  • Keep children and pets away from fallen electric lines.
  • Avoid driving over a fallen power line.
  • Call 911 immediately to report a fallen power line.

Stay safe if a fallen power line touches your car

If your vehicle comes in contact with a downed power line, follow these safety rules:

  • Stay inside your car. The ground around your car may be energized.
  • Sound the horn, roll down your window and call for help.
  • Warn others to stay away. Anyone who touches the equipment or ground around your car can be injured.
  • Use your mobile phone to call 911.
  • Wait until the fire department, police or PG&E workers tell you it’s safe to get out of your car before exiting the vehicle.

If your car is in contact with a fallen power line and a fire starts, follow these guidelines when exiting your vehicle:

  • Remove loose items of clothing.
  • Keep your hands at your sides and jump clear of the vehicle, so you are not touching the car when your feet hit the ground.
  • Keep both feet close together and shuffle away from the vehicle without picking up your feet.



Flooding, Storm Damage, and Labor Day Weekend: Keeping Your Family Healthy and Safe


Governor Walker declared statewide State of Emergency 

For many people, the Labor Day Weekend is a last chance to get in family trips and activities before school begins and summer turns to fall, but holiday weekend falls on the heels of extreme weather conditions leading to widespread flooding and storm damage. Governor Scott Walker has issued a statewide disaster declaration, directing state agencies to assist in the response and recovery efforts.

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS), along with other state agencies, offers these tips so you can enjoy the long weekend safely:

  • Plan Your Route. Many areas of the state still are flooded, and some roads are closed. Check the Department of Transportation alert page at (link is external). Never drive through standing water or go past a barricade. Stay on designated detour routes. Many state, county and local roads are experiencing flooding.
  • Confirm Your Destination. Before you travel, call ahead and check on the conditions at your location. For information on state parks, trails or other state property closures, go to the Department of Natural Resources webpage or search “current conditions.” If your planned location is not available and you must change your plans, the Department of Tourism (link is external) website is a great resource.
  • Swim Safely. If swimming is in your weekend plans, check local health departments for beach conditions and slow no-wake zones. Just because the water looks clear doesn’t mean there isn’t debris under the surface. Also, manure, pesticides, and other chemicals run into waterways during floods, so avoid swimming or wading in areas that have been flooded.
  • Boat Safely. Boaters may encounter unexpected debris in the water. Be cautious and wear a life jacket.
  • Use Bug Spray. If you will be spending time outdoors, be sure to wear bug repellent to keep mosquitoes and ticks away and to avoid illnesses like West Nile virus and Lyme disease. Standing water creates the environment mosquitoes need to breed. Empty containers around your area that may have collected rain water.
  • Stock Up. Whether you are hitting the road or staying home, if you are in or near a flooded area, be sure to have a supply of bottled water and non-perishable food. In some affected areas, more rain is in the forecast.
  • Watch the Weather. Monitor the forecast and take cover or reroute your trip, if necessary. As always, have an emergency kit in your car. This kit should include water and food, a flashlight, a first aid kit, and a cell phone with chargers and a backup battery.
  • Know Your Limits. Many people will be spending the Labor Day weekend cleaning up property and debris. Be sure to stay hydrated and rest often, especially if you are not used to strenuous activity or if you have a health condition. More information on safe cleanup can be found at the links below.

DHS has created a Floods Resources page with fact sheets, pictures, and other easy to use materials that can be downloaded and shared. Additional flood-related information is available from Wisconsin Emergency Management (link is external), the Department of Natural Resources (link is external), and the Department of Transportation (link is external), along with the Centers for Disease Control and Preventio (CDC)




 For assistance please call our office at 920-262-8090 or refer to our staff directory HERE.




back to top