Flood Clean-up Begins, But Caution Advised Around Contaminated R - KHGI-TV/KWNB-TV/KHGI-CD-Grand Island, Kearney, Hastings

Flood Clean-up Begins, But Caution Advised Around Contaminated River Water

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Residents living along the South Platte and Platte Rivers are now facing clean up duty as water levels have begun to fall following record-breaking heights in some areas.

The river breached its banks in several areas as rainwater from Colorado's torrential storms made its way downstream.

Hershey residents had to build sandbag walls all along the river to protect the town from flooding. The town is now in the clean up stage with volunteers heading out Saturday to get rid of those sandbags since the threat has passed.

Village Clerk LeAnn Ellis says it's going to take a while to get everything back to normal, but Saturday's cleanup will help.

Meanwhile, officials are advising people in central Nebraska to stay away from the river while tests are done to determine how long it may pose a health risk.

The Colorado floodwaters contained debris, chemicals and raw sewage, leading officials to advise caution when coming in contact with the river.

Department of Environmental Quality spokesman Brian McManus says tests show bacteria levels in the Platte River near the central Nebraska towns of Brady, Cozad and Overton were 10-15 times the amount that poses a higher risk of causing an illness.

McManus says more tests must be completed before state officials can determine how long the health risk will continue.

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