Floods prompt warnings about tainted U.S. Northeast water supplies

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By Rachel Nostrant

(Reuters) – State officers throughout the U.S Northeast are warning residents about contaminated water following mass floods final week that swept uncooked sewage, pesticides, runoff gas and different forms of pollution into non-public and public water techniques.

Well being officers in Vermont, New Hampshire and Massachusetts have issued advisories this week cautioning that water sources throughout the area may not be protected to drink and bodily contact may result in rashes, sore throats and bacterial infections.

The warnings comply with storms that dumped greater than a foot of rain on some areas, prompting flash floods that inundated rivers and streams and killed not less than seven individuals within the area. Run off from the storms has additionally polluted native waterways and wells with contaminants from gas tanks, farms and flooded houses, officers stated.

“In case you’re in a flooded space and get your water from a properly or spring, assume your water is contaminated,” the Vermont Division of Well being warned as a part of its flood restoration plan.

Nicely water just isn’t presently really useful for consuming, cooking, washing meals or for brushing tooth till testing will be carried out, the well being division stated.

Due to Vermont’s heavy focus of dairy and produce farms, it’s possible that giant quantities of pesticides and different chemical contaminants have been washed into native waterways, stated Ben Truman, a spokesperson for the Vermont Division of Well being.

“Although they normally do a great job, a lot of the farms have been hit fairly badly, so no matter was on the soil, from manure to pesticides … that leads to the lakes and streams,” he stated.

In Massachusetts, town of Holyoke stated this week that hundreds of thousands of gallons of discharge consisting of rainwater and untreated sewage or partially handled sewage had leaked into the Connecticut River.

Metropolis pipes in western Massachusetts have been designed to open into the river within the occasion of extreme overflow as an alternative of into houses or streets.

As New England’s longest river, the Connecticut River runs by way of Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Vermont and supplies 70 % of all of the recent water coming into Lengthy Island Sound, in keeping with the Connecticut River Conservancy.

Boil water advisories are in impact throughout a lot of Vermont, New Hampshire, and elements of Massachusetts.

(Reporting by Rachel Nostrant; Enhancing by Aurora Ellis)

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