Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Hurricanes and Their Impact on Water Quality

Damage to Your Household Isn't The Only Problem Hurricanes Cause

When hurricanes are predicted to hit certain areas of the U.S., most people worry about the massive flooding, high winds, debris, and electrical outages that they can bring. Hurricanes can cause a significant amount of human casualties due to falling trees, overflowing areas of water, and an increase in traffic accidents. However, one majorly overlooked problem that hurricanes can cause is the degradation of water quality for city water and private well water systems.

When hurricanes affect a certain area, the surge of water increases the contamination in that area, by pushing massive amounts of contaminants and toxins from the earth into the water supply. During times of crisis, water municipality plants may not be operating at full capacity, causing the situation to become even worse. If an increase in contaminants is combined with a lack of proper filtration, the results can be worrisome. Furthermore, water plants may not be able to deal with the sudden increase in contamination to begin with, so it may be wise to avoid using your water supply during the hurricane.

Hurricanes can cause other problems that are beyond the control of the municipality plant. When debris, contaminants, and chemicals are flooded into the public water systems, they affect the water mains and lines in households, bypassing the water treatment and causing contamination. This contamination can only be avoided by in-house water filtration. In most areas, the municipality will attempt to eliminate this problem by “purging the lines.” This will reduce most of the newly introduced contamination in your water system, but not completely in most cases.

When sewage systems become overwhelmed with surging water, there is a very high probability for bacterial overgrowth. This is especially true of those using private well water systems. When a hurricane or storm has taken place, assume that your well water is not safe to drink for the time-being. Most well water systems are inter-connected, so the contamination of a nearby well may affect yours. To be sure, continuously listen for public health broadcasts on the safety status of your water.