By TOM BREEN
RALEIGH, NC (AP) -- Irene may be long gone, but the effects of the hurricane are still being felt in water quality fears all along the rivers of eastern North Carolina.
About 17 boil water advisories remained in effect Wednesday, stretching from the Outer Banks to Wilson. Thousands of dead fish have turned up in rivers and tributaries, killed by plunging oxygen levels in the water.
Susan Massengale with the state Division of Water Quality says Irene pushed enough organic material into some rivers and streams to drop oxygen levels. State officials are warning people to stay out of any floodwaters, which could also contain harmful bacteria.
Lower Neuse Riverkeeper Larry Baldwin says the remnants of Tropical Storm Lee may flush out some of the harmful matter lingering from Irene.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)