New concerns about E. coli at Cypress Creek

By Jamel Major - bio | email

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - There are new concerns about the pollution at Cypress Creek.

In 2008, Velsicol Chemical Corporation sent more than 200 settlement checks to people who said they got sick after the company dumped toxins into the creek.

Resident Scott Banbury said he was worried about the hazardous conditions of Cypress Creek, which is located near his home.

"Right now, my biggest concern is E. coli," Banbury said.

New testing has shown high levels of E. coli bacteria and pesticides in the water.  The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC) posted signs and issued advisories warning the public not to swim in the creek or eat any fish.

"Can we have people out canoeing in the Wolf River if we've got sewage discharging from Cypress Creek and headed that way?" Banbury asked.

State officials said the source of the E. coli bacteria is likely from storm water runoff.  Other pollution may have come from pesticides and other chemicals at plants like Velsicol.

According to the TDEC, "the department continues to be involved in remediation activities at and around the Velsicol facility.  The area around Cypress Creek has been a primary focus of corrective action activities since 2001.  Work included extensive soil investigations and cleanup of residential properties that border Cypress Creek.  The department has required Velsicol to take steps to address the release of pesticide-contaminated soil from the site during storm water runoff events."

Banbury asked concerned citizens to report problems.

"The City of Memphis is under this lawsuit from the EPA right now and they're having to identify the problems and fix them," Banbury said.  "Citizens can help out in that process by reporting the things they've noticed."

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