Press release from the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources:
State and local officials are encouraging people to avoid contact with a Graham County creek after recent water quality sampling revealedthat partially treated wastewater is making its way into the creek due to a malfunction at the Robbinsville wastewater treatment plant.
An official with the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources first discovered the problem while doing some routine water quality sampling last Thursday in Long Creek near the plant. Tests revealed fecal coliform in the water downstream of the plant exceeded levels considered safe by the state. High fecal coliform counts can indicate that disease causing bacteria are present.
Public water supplies do not appear to be affected by the malfunction, as there are no public drinking water sources in the affected area downstream of the wastewater treatment plant.
However, state officials are urging people in the area to avoid all contact with the water in Long Creek. In other words, no one should fish, drink from, swim in or otherwise come into contact with the water in Long Creek.
State and Graham County officials, meanwhile, continue to investigate the problem and seek a solution to properly treat the wastewater before it is discharged into Long Creek.
Long Creek is about a quarter mile north of where the creek joins the Cheoah River in western North Carolina. The Cheoah River flows to Santeetlah Lake on the Tennessee border.