DeKalb County

Riverkeeper claims trash from DeKalb workers is tainting drinking water. County says it isn’t theirs

DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. — A big log jam in the middle of Snapfinger Creek in DeKalb County is causing trash and other debris to pile up along the banks. 

The riverkeeper believes county crews caused the creek clog when it used an excavator in the water, around a sewer line off Snapfinger Woods Drive. 

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“DeKalb County crews went out to prevent sewer spills by removing trees, debris, limbs off of our sewer pipes,” DeKalb’s Environmental Compliance Director Maria Houser said.

That was in February. Six months later and at least a half mile downstream, Riverkeeper James Tingley found the log jam.

“This right here was not here, until DeKalb County did that work,” Tingley told Channel 2 investigative reporter Sophia Choi, who saw the log jam first hand. 


Tingley also provided Channel 2 with video showing DeKalb County crews using an excavator in Snapfinger Creek.

Garbage and debris is now strewn all over the woods, leading to the creek including used diapers, rusty gas cans and even a damaged boat. 

Tingley told Choi the area is a protected natural wetland that often floods by at least six feet. Tingley said it’s usually pristine, but not after county crews dug in the creek.

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DeKalb County denies responsibility. But the environmental compliance director told Choi even if they didn’t cause it, they’re looking for solutions to fix it. 

“We will work with anyone because we are also members of this community and we all want to live in a protected environment” said Houser.

The riverkeeper says he got an estimate for $85,000 from an environmental company to clear the logs. He wants DeKalb County to pay for it. 

Either way, Tingley says the work to fix the issue will begin after Thanksgiving.