Environmental Defense Fund

Harvey's floodwaters mix a foul brew of sewage, chemicals

Harvey's floodwaters mix a foul brew of sewage, chemicals

Harvey's filthy floodwaters pose significant dangers to human safety and the environment even after water levels drop far enough that Southeast Texas residents no longer fear for their lives, according to experts.

Houston already was notorious for sewer overflows following rainstorms. Now the system, with 40 wastewater treatment plants across the far-flung metropolis, faces an unprecedented challenge.

State officials said several dozen sewer overflows had been reported in areas affected by the hurricane, including Corpus Christi. Private septic systems in rural areas could fail as well.

Also stirred into the noxious brew are spilled fuel, runoff from waste...