GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) - As the water has rushed along the Grand River in recent days, overflowing its banks, it carried with it pathogens and left behind debris.
The heavy rain has washed everything in its path into the river, including anything spilled on garage floors, fecal material from flooded septic tanks and animal waste.
The Kent County Health Department is calling the Grand River a cocktail of debris, poisons and pathogens. Officials have issued a No Contact Advisory and have not yet even begun to test the water.
But 24 Hour News 8 decided to do its own testing. Two water samples were carefully collected from Riverside Park, and between the Eberhard Center and the Public Museum. Summit Laboratory agreed to test the samples to find out what is in the water. Results are expected back Tuesday.
The most likely suspect is E. coli. It is a predictor of what other pathogens and viruses may be present, some of which could be dangerous. Among those is cryptosporidium, a parasite that causes the diarrheal disease cryptosporidiosis, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
In 1993, more than 100 people died in Milwaukee when their drinking water became contaminated by cryptosporidium. The affected water in the Grand Rapids area is not drinking water, which remains safe to drink and uncontaminated.
Junk has been piling up along the river, too.
"A little bit of everything, floodwaters pick up everything they touch, so we are going to have a lot of debris in that river, from housing debris, to possibly automobiles, to possibly fencing or maybe dead animals along the way," Adam London of the Kent County Health Department said.
Construction crews removed some big debris Monday that built up in the Grand River along the Fulton Street Bridge in Grand Rapids due to the flooding. Crews hauled away the debris, which included logs, a picnic table and a boat dock, in truckloads. Consumers Energy and City officials were concerned that logs could rip apart a power cable under the bridge.
GRAM Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony in front of a festive downtown crowd at Rosa Parks Circle Friday night.
Two people were taken to the hospital after one vehicle crossed the center line, causing a head-on crash in Ada Township Friday night.
Police say snow made roads "treacherous" Sunday and urged people to stay home if possible.