Hurricane Floyd leaves contaminated water in its wake
Water contaminated with bacteria, pesticides and heavy metals is the greatest immediate environmental risk posed by Hurricane Floyd flooding.
Contamination from wastewater lagoons at animal feed operations and malfunctioning and overflowing sewage treatment plants in eastern North Carolina is of particular concern.
Some reports have estimated that the animal death toll is as high as 100,000 pigs, 500,000 turkeys and more than 2 million chickens in eastern North Carolina.
Scientists from the US Geological Service (USGS) are taking water samples regularly in an effort to assess the seriousness of the risks to drinking water supplies and dissolved oxygen concentrations in rivers and lakes in South and North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, New Jersey and New York.
With much of eastern North Carolina still under water, USGS scientists are boating over submerged rooftops, cars, bridges and roads in their efforts to sample water.