Standing water is a pool of water of any size that does not flow. It can occur after excessive rains, severe storms, from hurricanes or other natural events but can also be caused by human induced methods such as an old bucket or abandoned swimming pool. Water that stops flowing in and of itself is generally not considered to be dangerous however it can cause major environmental factors and can pose risks to health.
Standing water can be found almost anywhere and at any time of the year. Standing, also known as stagnant water, poses the most threat during the summer months when it becomes more of a breeding ground for insects.
After severe storms or bouts of heavy rainfall, the ground can be a factor in water stagnation. This often occurs because the ground cannot absorb all of the precipitation that has recently fallen. The same is true for lawns or roads where drainage is not adequate enough to push water away or to absorb it into the ground. In cities where heavy rainfall occurs, the sewer systems may not have sufficient infrastructure to help dissipate substantial and unordinary amounts of rain.
There seems to be a common misunderstanding that standing water is only a risk in third world countries. However, water that is left to stand anywhere can equate to health problems. Properties that are no longer cared for are often common areas where standing water accumulates in old buckets, in lawns, or on flat roofs that are no longer maintained. Swimming pools in foreclosed or abandoned homes are often left to sit after the owners leave. Even if the pool was drained before the previous owners moved out, pools that are not properly maintained can collect rainwater which eventually becomes stagnant, filled with algae and bacteria, and eventually mosquito invested.
According to the World Health Organization pools of standing water are a breeding ground for insects such as mosquitoes or dragonflies. When the larvae or these insects are left undisturbed, these insects are left to grow into disease-transmitting adults. Mosquitoes in particular can carry a host of diseases such as malaria, dengue, and encephalitis. They can also carry heartworms and tapeworms to pets.
Inside the home standing water can result in the growth of mold and mildew. Mold within the home is often associated with dark spores which can be related to respiratory problems for everyone who lives in the home.
Avoiding stagnant water is paramount to keeping harmful insects at bay. Around your home you can take measures to monitor any buildup of water in the grass, on the roof, in receptacles, or in and around the pool. If you see standing water in areas around your home but off of your property, contact local code enforcement and let them know that they should get involved.
Staying safe is easy if you are aware of the risks. After each rain storm be sure to be alert for the possibility of standing water and take action as soon as possible to avoid the infestation of disease-carrying mosquitoes.