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Sewage, Fecal Bacteria in Hurricane Harvey Floodwaters

(CNN) Hurricane Harvey and its aftermath have dumped trillions of gallons of rain across Texas and Louisiana over six days. Homes, office buildings and other structures along the Gulf Coast and in Houston's Harris County, were flooded, their occupants forced to find higher ground. To reach safety, most local residents waded through the murky streams, in some cases for hours.

Scientists, including Lane Voorhies, a senior environmental scientist at A&B Labs in Houston, expressed concern about what this water might contain.

"The potential for contamination is everywhere," Voorhies told Elizabeth Cohen, CNN senior medical correspondent. In particular, he worried about the health effects among people who had spent time in the water, especially those who might have gotten cut while walking through the murky depths. People with underlying illnesses, pregnant women, the elderly and young children would also be more susceptible to illnesses resulting from contact with contaminated water.

Based on sampling he'd done during previous flooding events, Voorhies took three samples on Thursday of floodwaters from different locations in Houston, though all in close proximity. He sent the samples to A&B Environmental Services, Inc. to be laboratory tested for sewage-related bacteria, chemicals and heavy metals, including arsenic, lead, mercury, cadmium, chromium and silver.

On Friday, Senthilkumar Sevukan, lab manager and microbiologist at A&B Lab, delivered the results: Coliform and E. Coli. Click here to read the rest of the CNN article.

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Whether it is a flood, a chemical spill, a fire or other disaster, Hygieneering has the experience and resources to manage the issue.

  • Hazardous material spill health, safety and environmental evaluation and response.

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