Feces, motor oil, and more – why playing in monsoon floodwater not a good idea

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(3TV/CBS 5) -

Every year, first responders rescue stranded drivers and hikers from the monsoon flash floods.

Sometimes, the incidents turn deadly.

However, the dangers don’t stop some people from having some fun in the floodwaters after the storm.

Last month, our chopper caught some kids paddle boarding at flooded Mesa park.

One viewer shared cell phone video of a man “fishing” in a grocery store parking lot in Apache Junction.

Last week, our cameras were rolling when sewers overflowed near the airport.

[SPECIAL SECTION: Arizona Monsoon 2017]

ASU professor of engineering and water researcher Dr. Paul Westerhoff said it’s in your best interest to not go in floodwater.

He explained what’s in the sewer can ultimately drain into the catch basins and people should stay away.

“Sometimes it can be real tempting. We live in a desert, we finally get some rain and it looks real tempting get in it, but it’s real dangerous,” said Dr. Westerhoff.

He added that the dangers lurking below are microscopic. “There are feces, every chemical you can imagine that we use around society, from detergents to hazardous chemicals including fertilizers and pesticides.” 

All that can make you sick.

“The biggest type of illness you can get is diarrhea and vomiting from exposure to mainly the bacteria and viruses in this water,” he said. “Even if there’s standing pool of water that looks fun to run through and splash, as it splashing it’s going to be getting in your eyes, you can be inhaling, and you can get sick even if you don’t drink the water,” said Dr. Westerhoff.  

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