The floodwaters caused by Hurricane Florence in the Carolinas pose a significant threat to the surrounding areas. As recovery efforts continue in the wake of the storm, the floodwater is taking massive amounts of pollution and dropping it into the Atlantic.
It was thought that Hurricane Florence would bring an estimated 10 trillion gallons of rain to the area. The slow-moving hurricane did its worst as floodwaters inched over barriers and into lagoons.
Much of the pollution comes from hog farms in North Carolina, according to Duke Energy. More than 40 lagoons harboring pig waste and animal carcasses have been breached, carrying this waste away from their confines.
OSHA has warned victims of the floods and recovery personnel alike to take special precaution against floodwaters. OSHA is in charge of the wellbeing of more than 130 million workers across the United States. They recommend recovery personnel minimize risks through hazard evaluation, determining the stability of structures, monitoring for fall protection, and using power tools and recovery equipment properly.
OSHA has also pointed out that only individuals who have received the proper training should be participating in cleanup activities due to the pollutants and dangers caused by the storm. Even if citizens have good intentions, it isn’t worth the risk to put your health in danger without the proper training.
The necessary flood gear should be worn to avoid contamination, especially if you have open wounds or weakened immune systems. People should also avoid fishing or scavenging food from floodwaters since pollution will make the fish inedible.
People staying in shelters should also practice health and safety precautions. Those in close quarters with other people are more likely to catch colds and other illnesses, particularly pertussis and tuberculosis.
There have been other health concerns caused by the hurricane too. One woman who was driving on the highway sustained injuries after she hydroplaned into the median. Though she only received cuts and bruises from the incident, the threats of fractures and broken bones are a potentially serious threat. A bad bone fracture can take up to 10 weeks to heal properly.
As the floodwaters make their way back into the Atlantic, however, ocean waters have gotten increasingly dirty from the pollution.
The Pamlico Sound is suffering from the worst of the pollution. This could cause dangerous environmental hazards down the coast for people and animals alike.
Luckily, officials in North Carolina are aware of the breaches and are taking the proper steps to clean the area.