Hurricane Matthew Takes Toll on Water Quality

Oct. 13, 2016

Haiti is still grappling with the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew.  The death toll in Haiti still is not firm. Some sources indicate around 500 are dead while others estimate the toll is closer to 900. And those who survived the storm are still struggling.

Pictures after the storm show Haitians walking through thigh-high water, and reports indicate cholera—which was already a problem—is on the rise. As with any storms of this magnitude, access to clean water becomes a major priority. Many organizations are providing aid to Haiti in the aftermath, but some areas are still inundated, posing challenges for aid workers. The storm tore up much of the country’s infrastructure, particularly bridges, and made other roads impassable with downed trees.

The U.S. East Coast is also dealing with the fallout from the Category 4 hurricane. North Carolina rivers are rising and Florida was hit by the storm’s strongest winds. Storm water is posing issues to water quality for those communities.

In the past year, many of our conversations have focused on failing infrastructure and contamination in municipal water sources. This week has reminded us the impact storms have on water quality, as well.

Even with strong storm water infrastructure, areas can be inundated from major rainfall events. Storm water can leech into water supplies, spreading contaminants and waterborne diseases. Testing water sources, especially private wells, will be important in the coming weeks, as will education about water quality in hurricane-ravaged areas.

Are you located in an area affected by Hurricane Matthew? What help are you offering to the community in regards to water and water quality? Let us know at [email protected]