Director of the Center for the Environment: Sewage Spill Could Result in Fish Kill
September 16, 2009
By Roxanna Haynes, FOX8 News
HIGH ROCK LAKE, N.C. - An environmental expert believes the nearly 16 million gallons of sewage dumped into a creek that feeds into High Rock Lake could lead to a fish kill, among other effects.
The city of Thomasville could face a massive fine from the federal government for the sewage leak, which occurred between July 13 and August 4. According to the city, a damaged manhole allowed 15.9 million gallons of raw sewage to spill into Hamby Creek, which flows into High Rock Lake.
;;Dr. John Wear, the director of the Center for the Environment at Catawba College, said Tuesday the sewage spill could have caused people to get sick and may eventually lead to an algae bloom that would kill fish.
"Ultimately, that could cause the lowering of oxygen levels in the lake and die off our fish species," he said.
Wear said there's little that can be done now that the sewage is in the stream system. He reiterated it would have been best to have caught and contained the leak early, which the Yadkin Riverkeeper said Thomasville failed to do.
"A lot of people, children included, swim in this lake, and they could get really sick," said boater Fredrick Avery. "I wouldn't let my family swim in it now that I know about this."
The Environmental Protection Agency's investigation into the spill includes issuing search warrants to look through the city of Thomasville's records and interview employees. The city was fined $1,600 when the leak was first discovered, but officials expect the fine to increase once the EPA finishes its investigation.