Bayamon, Puerto Rico -- Residents of Puerto Rico are familiar with occasional beach closures due to sewage spills or high bacteria counts in the water off of the islands’ famous beaches. Raw sewage can contain a wide range of potentially harmful substances that may include viruses, bacteria, protozoa, parasites and fungi.
Health officials take sewage in the water and on beaches serious and so should people who have experienced flooding or a sanitary sewer overflow (SSO) in their home, school or place of business. A major health concern following these types of events is the possible presence of endotoxins. Endotoxins are a type of bacterial toxin that is located in the cell wall component of the outer membrane of Gram-negative bacteria. Bacteria such as E. coli, Salmonella and Helicobacter, which are commonly associated with sewage contamination, are all types of Gram-negative bacteria.
“People need to be aware of the risks associated with sewage contamination in any indoor environment,” said Harry Pena, President of Zimmetry Environmental. “Following a SSO or flooding, building occupants can be directly exposed to endotoxins by touching contaminated materials. They could also inhale these toxins if they have become airborne during the drying or remediation process. Air and surface testing can quickly determine if these toxins or other harmful microorganisms are present in a damaged property. Test results can help to ensure that the proper safety precautions are taken and that all contaminated areas are comprehensively remediated, cleaned and disinfected.”
The indoor environmental quality experts at Zimmetry offer testing and consulting services to identify endotoxins, bacteria, fungi and some types of protozoa associated with flood waters and sewage. These services are available throughout Puerto Rico and across the Caribbean.