Local News

Sewage Spill Closes Area Lakes For Part Of Holiday Weekend

Posted June 30, 2006

— Fun in the sun is off limits at two area lakes. A sewage leak in Cary has closed Lake Wheeler and Lake Benson until further notice.

Park officials say they could re-open the lakes by Sunday. But before they do, they have to make sure all the harmful bacteria from the 8 million gallon sewage spill are gone. And even when they do open up the lakes, there's no guarantee the public will be excited about coming back.

Contaminated with fecal matter and e-coli bacteria for the last several days, Lake Wheeler is off-limits for Stephanie Pavlick's dog, Sydney.

"I'm not letting her in the water as we speak until we hear further," said Pavlick.

The latest word from Raleigh Parks and Recreation Department is that bacteria levels are going down. If they continue to decrease, boating and fishing could resume by Sunday.

"We want to maintain those safe levels, just because we had one test come back positive," said Raleigh Parks & Recreation representative Richard Costella. "If it spikes or we aren't able to maintain it, we wouldn't want our patrons in harm."

Bacteria levels spiked early in the week after a murky mixture of sewage leaked from a Cary pipe into Swift Creek, which feeds Lake Wheeler. Even when the park reopens, there are certain activities that Chrystal Cholewa won't be doing.

"I wouldn't go out in fishing," she said. "I don't know that I'd trust the levels out there."

Cary officials said they've stopped the leak and have created a temporary pumping solution, at a cost of well over $300,000.

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