Do Not Swim in Ditches, Lakes, or Bayous

Due to Hurricane Ike, many of the waterways in our community have become increasingly contaminated with bacteria and toxins. Health risks that could occur from exposure to these waters include diarrhea, gastrointestinal infections and various bacterial infections, including potentially deadly bacterial infections such as tetanus (lockjaw).

Harris County Public Health & Environmental Services strongly advises residents not to swim, bathe or play in ditches, bayous, creeks or lakes because of these health risks. In addition, residents are reminded that they should never enter waters that you cannot see through, that may have a swift undercurrent or may contain debris.

As always, never leave children unattended around water, including swimming pools, even if they know how to swim.

Protect your family and your community from injuries and drowning.

If you have any questions, call 713-439-6270.



  • Sewage Back-up in and Around Your Home


Because many wastewater plants are still without electricity, there may not be enough power for their sewer lines (lift stations) to push the sewage to the wastewater plants. This may cause sewage to back-up into your home through places like toilets and bathtubs.

Sewage contains germs that can cause illness, including E.coli, Cryptosporidium,

Giardia, Hepatitis A, and Shigella. Symptoms from being exposed to sewage may include diarrhea, stomach pain, fever, chills, and vomiting. Seek medical attention right away if you experience any of these symptoms.

You can help keep sewage from backing up into your home by limiting the amount of water going down the drain. If you are experiencing sewage back-up in your home you may need to find other locations to use the bathroom and shower (such as your local YMCA), and to wash clothes until power is restored to the lift stations.

If sewage enters your home or yard, it should be cleaned up as soon as possible with cleaning solution made up of one cup unscented bleach to each five gallons of water. Be sure to protect yourself from direct contact with the sewage by wearing long pants, gloves, eyewear, and boots. Wash your hands often with soap and clean water or use alcohol-based hand sanitizers. Always make sure children and pets are kept out of the area until clean-up complete.

Clean all items and surfaces touched by sewage, including childrens toys by using use 1 cup of unscented household bleach in 5 gallons of water. Throw away items that cannot be washed and cleaned (such as mattresses, stuffed animals, baby toys, and wood cutting boards) and food that may have come in contact with sewage water.

You can protect your children and pets from unnecessary illness by keeping them from being exposed to sewage.