Dangerous Levels Of Bacteria In Flood Water - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

Dangerous Levels Of Bacteria In Flood Water

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When someone says, "stay out of the flood water," we now know why.

KWQC' Morgan Ottier went to the experts and got the flood water tested for E. coli. The results were surprising, even for QC Analytical laboratory director, Randall Wanke.

"The counts were in the hazardous range," Wanke said. "If you ingested anything with this level of bacteria, it certainly could make you sick."

A normal E. coli count for the river is around 100. A hazardous level comes in at a 235 count or higher. But the results of the two samples taken earlier in the week are beyond hazardous.

Sample one is a 330 count and the other is a whopping 610.

There are all kinds of things floating around in the flood water. But it's what you can't see that you should be the most worried about.

"It is certainly hazardous enough that any people in the water would be under significant risk," Wanke said.

But why is it that flood water is more hazardous than river water? Iowa DNR Conservation Officer Jeff Harrison has the answer --

"It washes out dead animals, carcasses. Sometimes septic systems, different items like that," Harrison said. "A lot of it can be agricultural runoff."

And, even as the water recedes, much of the bacteria remains.

"Once the water recedes, just keep in mind a lot of that bacteria will still remain in the mulch and different items left behind," Harrison said.

So, if you're cleaning up after the flood, make sure you thoroughly wash your hands or wear latex gloves.