COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - What was supposed to be one man's private paradise in the country is now contaminated with raw sewage.
Neighbors in Newberry County near Cannon's Creek say they can even smell the problem, and that a couple of weeks they noticed the creek was turning gray. After contacting DHEC about the smell, neighbors say they were given notice, but it wasn't enough.
Tony Higbe lives near Cannon's Creek where he more than 15 years ago.
"As of now, I'm sure there are a few neighbors up the creek that don't know anything about it," Higbe said.
After tests were done confirming Cannon's Creek had been contaminated with raw sewage. There was a small sign placed on the main road, barely noticeable to drivers according to people living nearby.
"The signs are so small unless you know what that sign is there. You actually get out of your car and go read it. You're not going to know what's in that creek," Higbe said. "I moved to the country to live a country life – smell fresh air and enjoy it. And now I'm smelling sewage, and that's wrong."
His family and several other neighbors use Cannon's Creek recreationally and in other ways.
"There's a lot of kids that are in the creeks all the time and there's raw sewage going in it. We got people on this creek that are irrigating with this, irrigating gardens," Higbe said. "Do you want to eat a piece of vegetable off a garden that has human feces and fecal matter that can get into it?"
It was about 10 years ago when Higbe says a Wastewater Treatment Plant was added to the creek.
"They just said that this water is going to be good enough to drink when it came out of that plant. I wouldn't drink it and I'd be curious to know what they'd say if they'd drink it."
He says accidents may happen but, "How many times is this going to happen? Is it going to happen once, twice? How many times has it happened in the last 10 years?"
Higbe's main concern is that he wants to the creek to be monitored for contamination on a regular basis, and wants neighbors to be properly notified if the water treatment fails at any time.
We reached out to DHEC for comment but were unable to get a response.