CHEROKEE COUNTY, TX (KTRE) - Following a storm, chances of environmental damage increase. As a result, an East Texas Organization examined the Neches River and collected water samples.
The Angelina and Neches River Authority conducted a water test Wednesday on the Neches River.
"One of the things that could be important to collect samples on a site such as this is: for example the tornado being so strong with the winds it could stir the muds up which could have bacteria potentially inside the dirt which would stir things up," said Dylan Coleman, Clean River Program Coordinator.
While samples are taken on a routine basis, officials said following a tornado there is a greater risk of oil and debris contaminating the water. They said pollutants from debris, and other chemicals can run into the river causing contamination.
“One of the main concern within our basin area is E.Coli that’s the biggest issue that we have in our area,” Coleman said.
The duo tested for the pH levels, measured the clarity of the river, and collected samples for more thorough testing in a lab. Officials said it will be a couple of weeks before results are received.
"Looking at all the video, you've got cars everywhere that have been picked up and toppled. Where did all the gasoline go in those cars? Is it still in the tank? Some of it is and some of it was released in the environment. The good news is nature is very diverse. It can handle most of these things. It has difficulties when you get great concentrations in a short period of time," said Kelley Holcomb, general manger with the river authority.
Officials said, for now, the best approach is to let the tree trunks and limbs continue to decay in the water.
To help the victims of these storms, click here to donate to either the American Red Cross or the East Texas Food Bank. Both agencies are working daily in these storm-impacted areas of East Texas.