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Sewage-tainted floodwaters from storms Irene and Lee threaten drinking water, public health
MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) ' Floodwaters from the remnants of storms Lee and Irene are nasty with sewage and other toxins and officials warn that public health in parts of the Northeast could be at risk from direct exposure or contaminated private water wells.
Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett said Thursday a public health emergency looms because sewage treatment plants have been drenched and knocked out by a new round of storm waters. He warns the floodwaters are toxic and polluted and must be avoided.
In Vermont, a dozen towns flooded by Irene are still on boil-water orders 12 days later, though no waterborne illness has been reported. Similar precautions have been taken in other storm-damaged states.
Vermont's state health department is giving away free test kits so residents can check their wells for bacteria.