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Energy & Environment

Hazardous Chemicals Found In Little Sugar Creek

030216LSCcontaminationmap.jpg
Mecklenburg County
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Map shows the location of contamination in Little Sugar Creek

Mecklenburg county health officials are warning residents not to fish, bathe or drink water from a section of the Little Sugar Creek after tests found hazardous chemicals -- possibly from a nearby business. The warning covers an area of the creek between East 36th Street and Parkwood Avenue, and a tributary of the creek at East 27th and North Davidson Streets - near Cordelia Park.

Chemicals were first found in the area’s groundwater in September, county spokesman Mark Boone said Wednesday afternoon. 

Then, tests in late January showed elevated levels of the chemicals - trichloroethylene (TCE) and perchloroethylene (PCE) - have now reached the creek.

‘We’re telling people the creek’s contaminated, and to keep out,” Boone said.

Boone said officials think the chemicals came from industrial activities in the area - possibly an industrial park off Cullman Avenue. An investigative team from the state Department of Environmental Quality is trying to  find the source.

The health department issued the alert and has posted warning signs because people sometimes cross or wade in the stream, fish and even use the water for cooking.

“There are people who will traverse the creek at certain areas and there are people who will fish and people who will wade,” Boone said. “We’ve even heard of people cooking with the water.”

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Storm Water Services said it will continue to test the water, and advise residents when it’s safe again. 

Meanwhile, the county says elevated chemical levels haven’t been found in other areas of Little Sugar Creek, and other areas aren’t under restrictions. 

“However, these waters are subject to contamination from a variety of sources and are not to be used for drinking and/or bathing.

RELATED LINKS

March 2, 2016, CharMeck.org, "Chemical Contamination Found in Little Sugar Creek"

The county also lists all the areas where it warns against consuming fish on its website, at http://charmeck.org/stormwater/creekslakesponds/Pages/FishConsumptionAdvisories.aspx