by: Brian Monahan Updated:
ATLANTA - A new report found potentially dangerous levels of synthetic chemicals in a local creek that feeds into the Chattahoochee River.
The study, which was released by the Environmental Protection Agency a couple of weeks ago, found high levels of PCB, or polychlorinated biphenyls, and pesticides in the fish. Both chemicals has been banned for 30 years.
The Proctor Creek watershed covers about 16 square miles on the west side of Atlanta. The city just tagged $3 million of TSPLOST money to building a greenway along its banks.
The clear water gives no hint of danger, but just feet from the creek you'll see signs warning you to not play, swim or fish.
“The EPA estimates this system, the whole system, carries 40 percent of the pollutants that the city's contributing to the Chattahoochee River,” said Debra Edelson, of the Emerald Corridor Foundation.
Experts believe heavy rain and erosion are possibly causing chemicals from decades ago to resurface.
“As the stormwaters erode and change the creek and the areas around it, it seems like we're starting to pull up the old industrial soils and uses," Edelson said. “This was an industrial area so you can only imagine what was being hauled and managed and moved around on these properties.”
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Severe Weather Team 2 meteorologist Brian Monahan reached out to the Chattahoochee Riverkeeper, who said, the pesticide concentrations found in fish in Proctor Creek are not common.
Despite bright yellow warning signs, people still fish out of the creek.
“It's increasingly ill-advised and those signs need to be really prominent and everywhere we think people are attempting to have that interaction with the water,” Edelson said.
Some pollution levels are dropping in the creek. E.coli contamination in the headwaters near downtown Atlanta have dropped nearly 50 percent in the last two years.
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