Small sample of Texas floodwater contains E. coli: Expert

Experts are warning residents and rescuers in Texas about the possible health risks lurking within the deluge of water from Hurricane Harvey.
3:55 | 08/31/17

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Transcript for Small sample of Texas floodwater contains E. coli: Expert
Right now we look at the possible dangers in those floodwaters. An astonishing 25 trillion gallons of water have fallen on Texas and Louisiana and people have been wading waist deep in them and experts worry about what may be in those waters. Eva pilgrim brings us that story from Pearland, Texas. Those floodwaters were just about everywhere. We're iide one of those homes that was damaged and the bottom two feet or so of the wall, they have come in and removed it. It touched everything. I want to show you what this water looks like. This is a bottle of the floodwaters that we got yesterday. Here's a clean bottle of water just to give you some reference. It's clearly dirty. This morning we're learning it also may be dangerous. Brown, murky water flooding Houston. Local officials have been warned about the possible dangers. These waters are dirty. They carry all kinds of shall we say stuff in them so we've got to make sure we don't have a health crisis too. Reporter: Bacteria lurking in the floodwaters. The water is filthy. It contains sewage. It contains runoff from who knows what. Reporter: The EPA on the ground monitoring water quality. "Gma" asking Dr. Terry gentry to collect samples in Cyprus, Texas, just outside of Houston. I'm going to collect the water sample to test for E. Coli. Reporter: He collects two types of water. Drinking water and floodwater. While the drinking water came back fine, the floodwaters, E. Coli and coliform levels are concerning. We awe elevated levels of E. Coli and represents viruses and other organisms that could cause disease in some individuals. Reporter: The E. Coli numbers more than 125 times the EPA recommends being exposed to while swimming and 15 times higher than the standard set for wading. We do see that oftentimes when there's a storm event, so if it rains a lot, we go test the creek river we may see lev levels comparable to that. What we don't see is the breadth of this. In this case you're covering square miles. Reporter: The Harris county department of health tells us the results in the report would be exactly as we would expect. With floods the waters in the streets can easily be overrun and contaminated with sewage, trash and displaced animals making it dangerous and unsafe. Dr. Susan Whittier of Columbia university looked at the results. So those numbers are really high. Reporter: Dr. Whittier cautions anyone exposed to the water. The rescuers and the those residents who had to be in it especially those with open wounds. Getting out of the possibly contaminated clothing is essential. And somehow showering to try and, you know, clean your skin as much as possible. Reporter: George, we're standing in the family's living room and they've removed everything from the room and put it out on the curb outside. And that's what experts tell you to do. If you can't clean the items, unfortunately, they will likely have to go, George. I believe that, Eva. What about the drinking water? I think Eva might have lost the sound. She's not hearing us. Boy, you can see how long it's going to take to clean all of this up. You know, after a storm like that and if you have been evacuated. You want to go back to your home but you got to remember of all that's in the water, but it's just so hard because you want to go back to see what could possibly -- When you get back you have to take all of your things and literally throw them away because they're contaminated. What about J.J. Watt, man, he

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