The Town of Lexington is dealing with a wastewater issue impacting one of its creeks and is advising the public to avoid the waterway.
In statements given to the Chronicle by a spokesperson, the town says that it was informed at about 4:30 p.m. March 8 about an issue at the Watergate Wastewater Treatment Plant causing partially treated wastewater to enter 14 Mile Creek.
An aeration problem is causing the plant to “not function 100% properly,” the town said, leading to the water entering the creek not being properly treated.
“Immediately upon noticing this issue, crews responded to the area and they are continuing to make the necessary repairs,” the town said.
The state Department of Health and Environmental Control confirmed it is working with the town to regularly test the water as crews make repairs.
“On Wednesday, the Town of Lexington properly notified DHEC of partially treated sewage from a wastewater plant that was entering 14 Mile Creek,” the department said in a statement. “The town has issued public notification that people should stay out of the creek until the issue is resolved, as wastewater can pose health risks to people who come in contact with it.
“The town continues to actively make repairs, and DHEC will stay in communication with the Town of Lexington and monitor the repair efforts. Once water samples indicate the creek is no longer being impacted by the wastewater, the town will issue another public notification announcing the creek’s water quality has returned to normal.”
The impacted area of 14 Mile Creek runs from Reed Avenue to the Saluda River.
The town said it anticipates repairs taking a few days to complete.
The town additionally noted that it has been working to decommission the Watergate plant that it acquired in December 2020 from Blue Granite, which had been at odds with the town over environmental concerns at the company's local treatment facilities.
"The design plan is completed and we are nearing completion of easement and property acquisition necessary for building a pump station and related force main to tie into our system," the town said.