E. Coli as High as 135 Times the Safe Limit Discovered in Houston Homes as Residents Return After Harvey
Waste treatment plants across
From the Times report :
In the Clayton Homes public housing development downtown, along the Buffalo Bayou, scientists found what they considered astonishingly high levels of E. coli in standing water in one family's living room - levels 135 times those considered safe - as well as elevated levels of lead, arsenic and other heavy metals in sediment from the floodwaters in the kitchen.
In a Gizmodo post last week, a senior CDC official warned of the long-lasting toxicity of Hurricane Harvey. Pesticides, weed repellant and household chemicals are all swallowed as heavy rain barrels through homes and garages, then spread throughout the city before eventually becoming embedded in people's homes.
Zoning restrictions in Houston are famously lax, and waste treatment centers, as is the case in many cities, are constellated around low-income and public housing areas. Sadly, the people here living here-single mothers with very young children, the elderly and disabled-are most vulnerable to the bacteria and toxins Harvey spread throughout the city.
Even more alarming, scientists found that in many cases the bacteria is more concentrated inside people's homes than outside. Even if their clothing or documents have been spared from water damage, residents returning to asses the damage to their homes still face serious dangers. Houstonians report asthma attacks, rashes and even staph infections from houses. One resident, whose neighborhood is surrounded by multiple flooded swimming pools, summarized the situation: "All the pools are just giant toilets you're unable to flush," he said.
[ New York Times ]