We’ve been following the devastating news about Hurricane Harvey. I have no words to express how horrific the scenes of destruction I’ve seen televised. Our hearts go out to those in Texas that are losing homes and fleeing from ongoing storm damage. The news is full of record-breaking water levels, stories of people pulled out of their flooded homes, and wading knee-deep or higher through floating debris. Though many people are still dealing with the immediate damage of Harvey, the effects of storms like this will last longer than the storm.

Unfortunately, the inundation of so much water will affect the Texas landscape beyond these weeks of heavy rains and damaging winds. Though there are many immediate problems—people having to evacuate their homes and massive water damage due to dangerous hurricanes and heavy rains—storms like Harvey and Katrina also cause long-term damage that citizens will still have to address for months after the immediate damage.

Massive storm and water damage mean that all the water that is flooding streets and land will be contaminated with bacteria, fecal matter, and debris, creating a hazardous situation on land and dumping contaminated water back into the tributaries, rivers and eventually the ocean. Also, that contaminated water will be sitting stagnant in some areas for some time as it slowly evaporates.

With this comes many issues. Water must be pumped out of the city and water and wastewater facilities will be inundated with a massive amount of water. Stormwater retention basins will be at full capacity for months. There will be the need for enhanced evaporation techniques, and ponds and lakes will be contaminated.

At Air-O-Lator, we ask that people in and around the affected areas of Hurricane Harvey be cautious in the months ahead and practice safe water management techniques once the storm passes.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to our friends and clients and all those in Texas affected by Hurricane Harvey. We implore our friends and customers to help by donating, volunteering, or helping the relief efforts. You can donate via the Red Cross, and the New York Times has also compiled a list of trustworthy organizations to donate to for relief efforts.