Web Zap*Germs Archive

August 17, 2004

Water Contamination From Charley and Other Storms

One of the tough realities of cleaning up after Hurricane Charley is the loss of safe drinking water. The storm surge from the Gulf of Mexico -- which by some accounts reached heights of 15 feet as it hit Florida's southwest coast -- contaminated water treatment facilities and wells with untreated seawater. As a result, residents are being advised to boil tap water (if they have running water!) or use bottled water until the water can be recertified safe for drinking.

In addition, standing water in the many ditches and canals that are ubiquitous in the Fort Myers/Punta Gorda area is unsafe as well, and kids shouldn't splash around in it.

Delaware, Pennsylvania and New Jersey residents also found their well water contaminated by bacteria last month, when a number of violent thunderstorms that originated in Virginia and Maryland swept through the region, dumping several inches of rain that caused flash floods. At least one public swimming lake in New Jersey was closed due to high levels of coliform bacteria brought in by runoff from fields and neighborhoods.


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