DHEC has posted signs warning the public not to swim in the water. (July 9, 2012/FOX Carolina)
Hembree Creek flows to Lake Hartwell. (July 9, 2012/FOX Carolina)
ANDERSON, SC (FOX Carolina) -
Officials have released new information that shows Hembree Creek in Anderson County is contaminated with animal and human feces.
The creek is near Timberlake Road and Valley Drive in Anderson County and flows into Lake Hartwell.
Initially, county officials thought that a sewage leak brought water levels to twenty times higher than the fecal count state regulations mandate to allow swimming. Now county and DHEC officials believe there may be something else that's contaminated the creek.
Anderson County Waste Water Management collected water samples that contained a high amount of fecal contamination almost two miles upstream from the sewage leak that occurred June 30.
Monday, DHEC took over the investigation. They believe the county has adequately cleaned up the sewage leak, and additional contamination is coming from animal and human feces upstream.
The news that the creek may have been highly contaminated before the sewage leak is concerning to many in the neighborhood because young children and pets play in the creek. The high fecal count of the water in Hembree Creek could make them sick.
"DHEC likes to see around a 400 fecal count," said Derrick Singleton of Anderson County Waste Water Management. "We've seen spikes as far as 7,500."
The spikes are made up of fecal coliform colonies, that's bacteria from intestines of both animals and humans. At this time, the source of the fecal matter is a mystery to DHEC and county officials.
"A lot of times you'll see it on farms in the outskirts of Anderson, it is strange to see it this high here," said Singleton.
DHEC has posted signs around the creek, urging the community not to swim or come in contact with the water.
Families with young children who live just across from the creek say the news has them on edge.
"I really don't feel safe now, because of my kids," said resident Carl Johnson. "I don't trust the water around here now."
DHEC's investigation of the creek is ongoing and sampling will continue. County officials say the contamination in Hembree Creek does not effect the local drinking water.
Copyright 2012 FOX Carolina (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.
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