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Officials inspect creeks for sewage leaks

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Editor:

The North Central District Health Department, in conjunction with County Judge-Executive Randy Stevens, the Trimble County Sheriff’s Office, the Eagle Resource Conservation and Development district, the Tri-County Community Action Agency, and other community partners began examining local waterways Monday, Nov. 8.

Throughout the week, health department environmentalists will walk along Trimble County creeks to determine potential waterway contamination resulting from residential septic systems with straight-pipe discharges and other source contaminates.

A septic system that discharges from a straight pipe has been improperly installed, allowing the untreated sewage to contaminate the watershed area, and, eventually, our rivers and streams.

Greta Steverson, coordinator for the Eagle RC&D Council, has worked for the past 20 years addressing this problem in the county.

“We have worked on stream projects where we know the water quality was very impaired, but did not have the opportunity to pinpoint what the source of the contaminants were.”

Contamination posing the highest risk to the citizens of Trimble County typically occurs in streams that run through or near highly populated areas.

The areas environmentalists will check this week include Carmen Creek (Carmen Creek Road), Daugherty Creek (Jones Lane), Town Branch Creek (U.S. 421), Hardy Creek (Hardy Creek Road),  Connector Creek (Connector Road), and Tiber Creek (School Hollow Road).

The survey is expected to conclude by Friday. The department hopes to use the data collected to target the reduction of pollutants in local waterways, as well as increase community awareness of problem areas in the county. 

Once areas that need improvement are identified, the data could possibly assist community leaders in finding grants or other funding sources to help correct the problem and to provide the community with education about proper installation, maintenance and management of a septic systems.

“I certainly support efforts to improve the quality of our environment,” Stevens said. “Joining efforts with cooperating agencies to offset the cost of correcting straight-pipe [discharge] is the best way to approach the situation.”

For more information about this study or other concerns about septic tanks, please contact the Trimble County Health Department at (502) 255-4851.

Renee Blair
Public Health Director
and Tony Millet
Senior Environmentalist

North Central District Health Department