Local News

Murky Flood Waters May Prove Dangerous

Posted July 25, 1997

— As flood waters move downstream, all sorts of nasty ingredients are collected along the way. State leaders want you to beware. If you have a choice, you should choose to stay far away from the dirty water.

Matt Pope left his Raleigh apartment just in time Thursday to get away from the flood. His neighbor's car wasn't so lucky. It's still covered in debris left behind by the dirty water.

"It was really dark brown water, and you could see stuff rolling around in the parking lot," Pope recalls. "There was debris and big logs coming out of the woods."

It all came from a tiny creek. As it and countless other small waterways return to pre-storm levels, larger creeks and rivers are starting to swell.

Don Reuter, a spokesperson with the Department of Environmental, Health and Natural Resources, says from the air, you could expect to see a discoloration of the Neuse River or of others rivers because a lot of sediment and other things have made their way into the water.

It's the other things that might make you a little nervous. The rainwater carried away untreated wastewater in about half a dozen towns, including Raleigh, Cary and Rocky Mount. They're not sure how much. State workers are keeping an eye on bacteria levels, but they don't expect the waste to cause any problems.

Fortunately, Reuter says rainwater that gets into the streams generally dilutes enough not to become a health concern.

Still, you don't know what's floating around in the brown waters. The state says the best policy is to leave them alone until the levels and the color return to normal.

Smithfield and Goldsboro expect the Neuse to crest sometime this weekend. They do not expect the water to spill over its banks.

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