Everyone has been glued to their televisions, hearts breaking for the plight of victims of Hurricane Harvey. We have seen the destruction of homes, buildings, and lives as citizens sought safety from the trillions of gallons of rain water has been left behind across Texas and Louisiana. Survivors are forced to wade through the murky waters to reach safety, supplies, and rescuers.

What Hurricane Harvey left behind

Researchers are expressing great concern about the what the water contains. Environmental scientists from the CRG Texas Environmental Services, Inc.

are concerned with the level of contamination of the flood waters. People who were in those waters for an extended period of time and may have been injured with cuts, open sores, and more could be at risk. The vulnerable members such as children, the elderly, and pregnant women would be more susceptible to contamination due to their exposure while in the flood waters. This could result in infections and illnesses, especially within the vulnerable group.

Possible contaminations in the flood waters

Samples that were taken showed the presence of Coliform bacteria in the fecal matter of warm-blooded animals and humans when compared to EPA standards. One suggestion for this contamination is due to a malfunction of a sewer plant.

E. coli has also been found in the waters. Because of the high levels of Coliform and E. coli found in the waters, there is sewage in the water. Researchers stated that neither one of these two bacterias is life threatening. E. coli has been known to cause intestinal disruptions.

What should you do?

Once you have been in contact with the flood waters, either as a respondent or victim, you should use antibacterial soap as soon as possible.

This should protect you from further exposure to any bacteria. Researchers also suggest getting rid of the clothing you wore because washing them will not rid them of the harmful bacteria.

Ensure that when you go in for a checkup, you let your doctor know you were exposed to the flood waters, especially if you have cuts, abrasions, skin lesions, or boils.

Let them know that there might be bacteria in the water and sewage matter. This will ensure that the treatment they develop for you can effectively treat any infections or bacteria you may have been exposed to.

Clean up efforts

Respondents and clean-up efforts will focus attention on these areas to identify what levels of contamination are present, and what can be done to rectify the situation. They will also have to pay attention to places where there were gas stations, paint shops, and body shops.

Testing will be done in areas identified so that respondents will know what they are Dealing with. It is hoped that natural processes like sunlight, oxygen, and soil will break down some of the harmful organisms within the flood waters.

If the waters will be there for a while and barricades will be placed around areas of concern.

Hurricane Harvey has devastated this part of the country and clean-up efforts and restoration will take time. Anyone wishing to assist is asked to seek the guidance of the proper authorities.

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