Health officials are warning residents that the floodwaters affecting much of the Midwest could contain toxins from sewage, farm chemicals, refuse and dead animals, the Associated Press reports.

"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 the Associated 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.