Local lawmakers working to clean up toxic water in James Island Creek

JAMES ISLAND, S.C. (WCBD)- The James Island Creek has had bacteria issues for years. It’s so bad that some residents tell us they won’t even swim in it.

Mary Edna Fraser has lived on the creek since 1989.

“In 2012, I started getting sick after swimming in this creek,” Fraser said.

Her symptoms, ranged from a sore throat to intestinal issues. Fraser attributes the sickness to high bacteria levels in the creek.

According to the latest report from Charleston Water Keeper, some areas of James Island Creek had bacterial levels over 17 times higher than the state water quality standard.

Fraser says she eventually stopped swimming in the creek, because of how contaminated it is.

“It’s my biggest fight, and one I hope to win because I would like for my grandchhildren and children and our friends and family to enjoy the creek again,” Fraser said.

“James Island Creek does have a lot of pollution in it because of leaking septic tanks,” SC Senator, Chip Campsen said.

Campsen says he’s dedicated to fighting this issue along with residents like Fraser.

“It’s really important that we not destroy the beautiful natural estuaries that we all enjoy,” Campsen said.

Campsen worked with other lawmakers to get 1.5 million dollars in the state budget to fund a project that will replace the leaking septic tank with sewer lines, clearing up the creek over time.

“The governor is a big supporter of our natural resources and he’s been great on that front. Of course, he’s concerned about our natural resources and he’s been great on that front,” Campsen said.

James Island Mayor, Brook Lyon said she appreciates the work Campsen did to get this done, “Thanks to Sen. Campsen’s remarkable efforts, we now expect to be able to cover 100% of the PSD’s sewer tie-in fees for our residents, saving citizens thousands of dollars in out-of-pocket costs. That’s a very big deal.”

James Island officials say the timeline for the project has not been determined yet.

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Author: Sophia Radebaugh