Slocum Creek pollution source likely identified

Environmental, Neuse River Watershed, Sound Rivers, Water Quality

Posted on December 14th, 2023

Neuse Riverkeeper Samantha Krop and Water Quality Specialist Taylor Register met with Havelock Mayor Will Lewis, Public Utilities Director Rick Day and Havelock Town Manager Chris McGee this week to discuss their latest findings about the ongoing pollution of Slocum Creek.

In 2023, water-quality testing at the Sound Rivers’ Swim Guide site (the creek’s public boating access) has continually returned extremely high levels of E. coli. Further DNA testing showed the source was human.

With that knowledge, the town conducted CCTV camera and smoke testing to determine whether its sewer system was the culprit, but the system passed.

“They did a really thorough job of going through the lines where we thought it might be coming from,” Sam said.

With the source still in question, in November, Sam, Taylor and Pamlico-Tar Riverkeeper Katey Zimmerman ventured out on the creek in kayaks to take water samples at various, harder-to-reach locations, using a process of elimination strategy.

“Our latest round of water-quality sampling narrowed it down to a geographical region where it’s coming from, and it’s likely from outdated septic lines,” Sam said.

The next step is getting the county on board to identify the septic systems in the area, and inviting residents to a town hall meeting to discuss “water quality in folks’ backyards.”

“We’ll be inviting those who live in the area, and bring folks information about the resources available and how to apply to federal and state grants to fix aging systems,” she said.

Sam said Town of Havelock officials have been very supportive of the team’s investigation.

“The city has been great,” Sam said. “They’re very invested in the creek, and we all share a desire to celebrate the creek for its recreational value.”

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