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OAKVILLE, Iowa - The floodwaters that deluged much of Iowa have done more than knock out drinking water and destroy homes. They have also spread a noxious brew of sewage, farm chemicals and fuel that could sicken anyone who wades in.
On Monday, Bob Lanz used a 22-foot aluminum flatboat to navigate through downtown Oakville, where water reeked of pig feces and diesel fuel.
"You can hardly stand it," Lanz said as he surveyed what remained of his family's hog farm. "It's strong."
Floyd's floods were heavily polluted from gas and oil, sewage, pesticides, millions of animal carcasses and waste from hog farm manure lagoons.
Many North Carolinians will never forget...the disastrous lagoon overflow at Ocean View Farms in Onslow County in 1995, which dumped more that 20 million gallons of hog waste into the New River, causing massive fish kills and contaminating drinking water.
Given the number of weather-related disasters Iowa has faced in recent years, namely flooding and tornadoes, concerns have mounted as to whether the Guard will be prepared to adequately and efficiently handle these situations when they arise.
"We need vehicles for support and communication equipment to help speed up our response time," Zirkelbach said. "We've had up to 50 percent of the Guard deployed over the last five years and we've managed to respond to every significant weather-related event. It has not been an issue during this time and we don't perceive this will be a problem in the immediate future."