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Floodwaters affect sewer systems, wastewater facilities
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) released the following statement in regards to the water quality of flood-impacted areas from Hurricane Harvey.
“EPA and TCEQ are aware that releases of wastewater from sanitary sewers occur during major flood events. The agencies actively work to monitor those facilities that have reported spills, as well as conducting outreach and providing technical guidance to all other wastewater facilities in flood-impacted areas.
“Floodwaters may contain many hazards, including bacteria and other disease agents. Precautions should be taken by anyone involved in cleanup activities or any others who may be exposed to floodwaters. These precautions include heeding all warnings from local and state authorities regarding boil water notices, swimming advisories, or other safety advisories. In addition to the drowning hazards of wading, swimming, or driving in swift floodwaters, these waters can carry large objects that are not always readily visible that can cause injuries to those in the water. Other potential hazards include downed power lines and possible injuries inflicted by animals displaced by the floodwaters.
“Federal and state mobile command is currently about 200 people, who are working elbow-to-elbow, starting in Corpus Christi and moving east with primary responsibility of the health and safety of those affected by Hurricane Harvey. As we continue to respond to this natural disaster and its devastating effects on the people of Texas, the biggest threat to public health at this time is ensuring they have access to safe drinking water and ensuring waste water systems are being monitored, tested for safety and managed appropriately.”