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After The Flood: Water Contamination In Houston TX

by Andrew Ciccone September 19, 2017

The aftermath of Hurricane Harvey has resulted in most of the drinking water sources to be contaminated throughout the region. According to an analysis by the Center for Biological Diversity, 1 million pounds of toxic chemicals have leaked into the water supply in the Houston Texas area.

Harvey’s deluge of wind and water have released thousands of tons of harmful substances from local petrochemical plants operated by ExxonMobil, Shell, Chevron and others. Breaches at numerous waste treatment plants have contaminated floodwaters with bacteria and toxins. Dozens of Superfund sites and an unknown numbers of submerged septic tanks have contaminated the water.

Bacteria, viruses, metals and other toxic pollutants have leached into the floodwaters from the refineries and chemical plants in the area. Toxins such as benzene, hexane, sulfur dioxide, butadiene and xylene have poisoned Houston residents water.

The air quality and water toxicity make exposure unsafe to drink or bath with the water.  According to health experts. Communities living near plants have been exposed to dangerous levels of toxic fumes and contaminated water.

These released toxic chemicals can cause an array of health problems including heightened cancer risk, gastrointestinal ailments, nausea and muscle weakness through prolonged exposure. Several air quality monitors were rendered inoperable by Hurricane Harvey. Residents are now vulnerable to emissions containing carcinogens and neurotoxins.

Bryan Parras lives in the East End area of Houston where the petrochemical plants are located. Parras complains of respiratory problems in the wake of  the hurricane. “You start to get headaches, your eyes start itching, your throat gets scratchy.” said Parras.

Houston has not met national air quality standards since the Clean Air Act was introduced in 1970. Given the Trump Administration's assault on the EPA and many other environmental protections. The sudden surge in pollution has caused deep concern among public health advocates here in Texas.

A growing number of concerned citizens are calling for big policy changes to reduce flood damage from future disasters. The air and water is unsafe and potentially life threatening. The extent of the contamination is yet known. Residents need to take precautions.

The LifeSaver Bottle is a breakthrough in innovation. The product was designed with a specific task. Save lives. To make all kinds of water potable.  


Whenever water is contaminated it is critical to find safe water or disinfect water for drinking, cooking, and brushing teeth.

The Center for Disease Control and the Red Cross recommend following these four steps to disinfect drinking water in an emergency.

  1. Use bottled water that has not been exposed to contamination, if available.
  2. If bottled water is not available, boil the water to make it safe. Boiling kills most types of disease-causing organisms. If the water is cloudy, filter it through clean cloths or allow it to settle, then draw off the clear water for boiling. Boil the water for one minute, let it cool, and store it in clean covered containers.
  3. If you can’t boil water, disinfect it using household bleach. Bleach will kill some, but not all, types of disease-causing organisms. If the water is cloudy, filter it through clean cloths or allow it to settle, then draw off the clear water for disinfection. Add 1/8 teaspoon (or 8 drops) of regular, unscented, liquid household bleach for each gallon of water. Stir it well, and let it stand for 30 minutes before you use it. Store disinfected water in clean covered containers.
  4. If you have a well that has flooded, the water should be tested and disinfected after flood waters recede. If you suspect that your well may be contaminated, contact your local or state health department for specific advice.


Consider donating money instead of food. Visit Charity Navigator to ensure your charity is managing contributions wisely.  

Here's a list of some of the organizations who are working hard to help folks in need:

  • GlobalGiving, has a set up a Harvey relief fund. It’s goal is to raise $2 million for food, water and shelter.  And then transition to long-term recovery efforts.
  • The United Way of Greater Houston has a relief fund for storm-related needs and recovery.
  • The Salvation Army is providing food and water to first responders and preparing for massive feeding efforts for residents.

In addition the American Red Cross and local organizations are accepting blood donations including Carter BloodCare and the South Texas Blood & Tissue Center.


Andrew Ciccone
Andrew Ciccone


Andrew Ciccone, VP Branding & Media Strategy - Andrew's long strange marketing trip began after graduating from Syracuse University with a BS in Marketing. Andrew then developed his marketing prowess when he moved to Madison Avenue big boys Young & Rubicam, Backer Spielvogel, and Grey Advertising. He went on to get a Masters in Corporate Communications from Baruch College, then went on to start his own agency in 2011 - Hudson Valley Public Relations. Andrew has earned a reputation for creative, smart, innovative campaigns that get results. Andrew's spare time is devoted to sailing regattas, family fun and film. To date he has penned four screenplays.

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