Contamination a concern as flood waters start to recede
Updated: Wednesday, April 24 2013, 12:03 AM EDT
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) - Nearly a week after heavy rain triggered record flooding across West Michigan, the flood waters are finally receding.
But it could still be days before people in some neighborhoods are allowed to go back home.
When they get there, they'll have a long road of clean-up ahead.
As the river flows over its banks, into homes, and down streets, there's no telling what it's picking up.
"It could be the contents of septic tanks, it could be animal waste, it could be fertilizers that people have already got the jump on," said Chris Veldkamp, an Environmental Quality Specialist with the DEQ. "It could be almost anything."
Veldkamp says the river is likely full of contaminants right now.
"Materials that were on the ground, on the pavement, now that's under water--all that material is being picked up by the water and transported downstream," she explained.
Newschannel 3 found garbage floating almost everywhere Tuesday, along with dozens of submerged cars in a Wyoming junkyard.
"Any kind of motor, mechanical equipment that might have oil or gas or fluids, anything like that, will also be carried down river," Veldkamp said.
In Hudsonville on Tuesday night, where Ottawa County discussed the flooding there, the message is much the same.
While the river is receding, no one is ready to say we're out of the woods just yet.