State senator calls for action after 7200 gallons of sewage spills into James Island Creek

Updated: Aug. 15, 2019 at 11:22 PM EDT
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JAMES ISLAND, S.C. (WCSC) - Thousands of gallons of raw sewage have spewed into the James Island Creek creating a bad smell for anyone who lives in the area.

The S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control says they were notified of a main break at Harborview Road near James Island Creek on Wednesday morning.

“According to initial information provided by the utility, the discharge, which was headed to Plum Island Wastewater Treatment Plant, lasted less than 30 minutes, and it's estimated that at most the spill was 7,200 gallons,” said DHEC Spokesperson Laura Renwick.

The sewage came from a pipe that was feeding the Charleston’s Plum Island Wastewater Treatment Plant.

Although Charleston Water System worked diligently to try and repair the pipe, State Senator Sandy Senn says they need to be accountable.

“What we’re going to call upon is for regulatory agencies to not allow them to just say,'Look this is an accident we’re sorry,' because they’ve actually damaged people,” said Senn.

Senn wants DHEC to enforce regulations and hold Charleston Water System responsible for mitigating the pollution.

She’s asking for the utility to team up with Charleston Waterkeeper, a non-profit group and pay for the tests needed to check water quality in the creek.

Mary Edna Fraser has lived right on Ellis Creek since 1989. She says the bacteria levels in the water have always been high.

“It makes our water unswimmable, unfishable. You don’t want to get your body in water that’s that polluted," said Fraser.

Charleston Water System will close a lane on Harborview Road to start making repairs starting at 9 a.m. on Friday.

DHEC says after repairs are made, the utility will have to sample the water and send a report to them.

In the meantime, Senn says no one should be swimming in the creek until they get an okay from Charleston Waterkeeper.

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