Health Risks Remain As Flood Water Recedes


by Audrina Bigos

CHARLOTTE, NC- There's a new warning this week about health risks from all the flooding and rain over the past two weeks around Charlotte.

As the water recedes, there's everything from sewage concerns to run-off and lake debris.

"As we get these heavy rains and stuff, the streets are flooding, the sewage is over spilling and creeks are overflowing," said Tammy Hill, vice president of the University Park Neighborhood Association.

Those issues are creating health concerns in Hill's West Charlotte neighborhood.

"I will not let my child play out here and I won't even raise my window for fresh air now with this sewage smell in the air," said Hill.

Other neighbors also worry about run-off and bacteria from last week's flooding.

The Catawba Riverkeeper, Sam Perkins, says contaminated water also poses health threats in local lakes and rivers.

"You'd be surprised what you can find in the water when you have sediment that builds up and erodes away.  Things get stored and re-accessed," said Perkins

It didn't stop folks from getting out on the water Monday as signs warned of heavy lake debris.

"Watch for logs and trees and a lot of debris floating," said Dean Walker, a Lucia resident and boater.

According to infectious disease experts, bacteria usually enter the body through small breaks in the skin like scars or cuts.

"Bacteria is one of the few things that is really a skin contact issue so after it rains, it's best to wait 24 to 48 hours and not swim," said Perkins.

Perkins also says to look out for debris under the water, because it can damage your boat and propeller.

Perkins is urging residents to report any sewage spills or debris so they can issue swim advisories.

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