KINSTON, N.C. (CBS4) — There are a lot of reasons to avoid contact with floodwater. In addition to floating pieces of debris, it could be contaminated with raw sewage and other toxic substances from coal ash to dead animals to nuclear waste. Hog farms and waste lagoons pose one of the greatest threats, according to AccuWeather.

Also, there are fire ants.

A reporter from Colorado encountered a whole mess of them in Kinston, North Carolina.

“Guys. I was warned day one by people at about these fire ants LITERALLY floating in flood waters and look what happened. That’s right. This video shows an island of fire ants floating along in Kinston, NC,” Joey Prechtl wrote on Twitter.

Prechtl works for KKTV in Colorado Springs but was sent to North Carolina to help WITN with coverage of the storm and resulting floods.

“[Rudy Luzania] and I were set up along Highway 70 south of Kinston. We were there because the Neuse River crested today and closed the highway down,” Prechtl told CBS4 on Thursday. “We were waiting to go live at 6:30 EST for our station back in Colorado. And then those ants floated by!” Prechtl said on Twitter.

“We both thought it wasn’t real at first. Ran into the water and got close and then saw the ants moving and we started filming. Rudy didn’t have the proper boots on either and drenched his socks,” Prechtl said.

We asked Luzania how he responded.

“Probably the complete opposite reaction from normal people I know. But still A FLOATING ISLAND OF ANTS!” he tweeted. “We were super excited! We’ve been waiting to see these for the last 3 days!”

Prechtl also spotted some intimidating arachnids in the flood zone.


“Update: now this guy is here. I’m going back to my hotel,” Prechtl tweeted.

As we mentioned a few sentences ago, fire ants are not the only dangerous thing in the water.

“The rain left two dozen hog farms seeping waste, killed 3.4 million chickens and turkeys, caused widespread mandates to boil drinking water and kept workers trying to prevent coal ash waste from leaking out of a landfill,” according to the Washington Post.

“On Sunday, the Cape Fear Public Utility Authority reported that more than 5 million gallons of partially treated sewage had spilled into the Cape Fear River after power failed at its treatment plant,” CBS reported. “Flood water may have high levels of raw sewage or other hazardous substances. Early symptoms from exposure to contaminated flood water may include upset stomach, intestinal problems, headache and other flu-like discomfort. Anyone experiencing these and any other problems should immediately seek medical attention.”

For advice about dealing with flood water from the Centers For Disease Control, click here.