Bacteria and debris could be lurking in rain water - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Bacteria and debris could be lurking in rain water

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) -

A rainy day, while gray and dreary, can be a playground of puddles and fun for the young, but what's lurking in those temporary ponds may not be so friendly.

"Pesticides, oil and gas, bacteria, it's going to move and it's going to go where it flows and that's the ditch and the bayou," said the Department of Environmental Quality Communications Director Rodney Mallett. "You need to be careful of those kinds of things."

When the rain washes everything clean, it's also mixing together everything from trash to chemicals to insects, making the run off a potentially hazardous stew that can lead to various infections or injuries. 

"Another thing that you need to be aware of is with roadside ditches and such, is oil and gas and material that comes from your car, over the course of a dry spell it will build up on the ground. When it rains, that will wash up in an area and pool," said Mallett.

Heavy rains also carry the chance of backing up septic tanks, or affecting the sewer systems.

"Throughout the nation as the infrastructure gets older and we see rain, it gets into the pipes and the sewer system will back up, that's another reason not to play in the ditches because sometimes you're going to get raw sewage in these areas," explained Mallett.

Luckily, there are very easy ways to keep playing in rain from becoming a health hazard.  Be sure to wear proper rain gear, make sure no open wounds are exposed and wash up after being outside.

Also, don't forget about Fido when the water starts rising.

According to Veterinarian Dr. Chris Hayes, heavy rain and flooding mean that your pets are more likely to be exposed to insects like fleas and ticks, which can carry diseases.

Hayes says to make sure pets don't drink any of the runoff water from a rain storm, which could expose pets to dangerous chemicals.

If a pet becomes sick shortly after a storm, it's best to get them checked out by your vet.

Copyright 2013 WAFB. All rights reserved.

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