Lake Bowen residents raise concern over regulations set by Spartanburg Water

Lake Bowen (FOX Carolina)

Confusion, frustration, inconsistency: All words that were thrown out in a meeting by property owners on Lake Bowen. They're venting about new policies put in place to protect the lake.

Spartanburg Water said the regulations are an effort to maintain clean drinking water.

For years, Spartanburg has seen water issues in past years due to algae. Millions of dollars have been invested to keep the water clean and that comes with some new rules.

Everyone in attendance at Tuesday’s meeting got two votes to decide the issues they want to see change first. It seemed simple, but homeowners have trouble picking just two. They said the recent changes and enforcement have been confusing to say the least.

"I think it's just come out of nowhere for everyone,” said one resident. “Suddenly it seems like in the last six months it's really gotten out of hand."

Spartanburg Water said they don't have a choice if they want to protect the lake. They said recent algae blooms show the need for more regulation on the surrounding land to keep drinking water at its best.

"Algae is a result of things that get into the ecosystem,” said Chad Lawson. “The ecosystem and most ecosystems are fragile entities, anything that's put into the ecosystem that's not there by the providence of nature is going to cause problems.”

That could be runoff, retaining walls and even new docks. That's why lake wardens are on high alert to enforce the new rules. One of the most troubling to those in the room, permits.

"I'm not looking at getting any permit because I'm afraid about what it's going to trigger,” said another resident. “Whether that's taking a dock off, whether that's taking a wall down. I don't know because you hear all the things that's happening to people on the lake that seems to be very inconsistent."

Permits are now required to make any changes and in most cases homeowners need expensive engineer drawings of potential changes to move forward. Another hot topic was property lines.

"If a tree blows down between the 827 line, do I call the warden down to come and get it or is it my responsibility to get it off of your property?" asked another resident.

Those who call the lake home said they need more clarification to learn what they can and can't do. Spartanburg Water said it's a long process, but they feel better knowing everyone has at least one common goal.

"They are confident this is the real deal, it's good water,” Lawson said. “They can see it, they can see where it comes from and sharing that message is what ultimately this is all about."

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