I am still waiting to hear back from a spokeswoman at the USDA to find out the answer to the question I posed last week: who is in charge of protecting us from crops affected by flood water? In the meantime, I got an alert from the Centers for Disease Control about contaminated water in Iowa. I can tell you, dear reader, that while you may not want to eat food grown along flooded riverbeds, you most definitely do not want to walk in that water, particularly if you have open sores or cuts on your feet and legs. Exposing a sore on your skin to contaminated water puts you at risk for a nasty infection.
The CDC sent an e-mail warning about high levels of fecal coliform bacteria in water tested in 4 Iowa cities: Burlington, Cedar Rapids, Des Moines, and Hamburg. Increased levels of fecal coliform bacteria (types of bacteria that include E. coli) may indicate contamination from human or animal waste. The CDC did not report on drinking water; this is the water from the flooded fields. Cedar Rapids had a particularly high bacteria level in its water because its waste water treatment plant is not working.
I’ll keep you updated on flooding, bacteria and water safety. Just remember not to wade around in any Iowa farms.
Photo courtesy of Shannonpatrick17 at flickr.com