Health officials are warning residents that the floodwaters affecting much of the Midwest could contain toxins from sewage, farm chemicals, refuse and dead animals, theAssociated Pressreports.
"If you drink this water and live, tell me
about it. You have no idea. It is very, very wise to stay out of it. It's as dangerous
as anything,"LeRoy Lippert, chairman of emergency
management and homeland security in Des Moines County, is quoted as saying to
theAssociated Press. Drinking water availability was a
concern for Cedar Rapids officials after three of the city's four drinking collection
wells were contaminated with toxic floodwater. While they eventually managed to
restore the municipal water system back to 50 percent capacity, they were still
encouraging residents to conserve water.
As the Mississippi
River continues to rise, sand bags were being placed around water-treatment
plants near Quincy, Ill. Roughly 40,000 people depend on water from the plant,
though the state has a stockpile of 100,000 gallons that can be sent to
communities that need it.
The situation is being repeated
up and down the Mississippi. Last week the federal government was warning that
27 levees could potentially overflow along the river if weather forecasts were
correct. Residents in the affected areas are encouraged to use bottled water
for drinking, cooking, washing dishes, washing hands and brushing teeth,
especially if the home is on a well system.