Swim advisory remains in place at popular swimming area

Swim advisory remains in place at popular swimming area

LEXINGTON COUNTY, SC (WIS) - It's hot and it's only going to get hotter, but there's one place in Columbia you don't want to swim at for a cool down.

"I'm usually hot after playing basketball. I was kinda bummed out, disappointed," said Zackary Rogers.

A no swimming advisory remained in place all day long on Wednesday at Saluda Shoals Park. This no swimming notice certainly didn't come at the best time with temperatures on the rise.  However both staff at the park and state officials say it's for good reason they don't want people in the water.

Specifically, it's due to elevated levels of bacteria in a section of the Saluda River. It's a spot where a drainage line dumps out water from the Friarsgate Water Treatment Plant. That plant belongs to Carolina Water Service, which has told the state some equipment used to treat the water isn't working properly. The company, from what we understand, is trying to fix the problem, but in the meantime the park doesn't want guests getting sick.

The water wasn't completely off limits, however. Plenty of people chose to get in canoes and kayaks. What park and state official say they're worried about is if the water gets into a person's body.

That means if it's swallowed or seeps into a cut or laceration. A water quality study from DHEC showed that the section of the Saluda River that runs through the Saluda Shoals Park has a higher level of bacteria. Park directors say they also suspended inner tube rentals until the warning is lifted.

"You might get into a situation where you might ingest water," explained Saluda Shoals Park Director Mark Smyers. "You have a lot less control over your vessel in a tube situation, which is a lot of fun when the water is okay, but right now we felt that was the proper thing to do."

RELATED: Swimming advisory issued for Saluda River area

Signs from DHEC were put up alerting people not to swim. For people looking to take a cooling dip during Wednesday's hot weather, it was certainly tough news.

"My son's home from college so we decided we would go tubing today. We tried to call but we just found out when we got here that we couldn't swim," said Irmo resident Angela Rogers.

At last report, officials with DHEC said that Carolina Water shut off the line that goes into the river. All waste water, for the time being, will be kept on site at the Friarsgate plant. State officials say it's not clear when the swimming advisory will get lifted.

Officials from Carolina Water Service released a statement on the matter on Thursday, saying the company took immediate steps to minimize any impact to the river.

"We are making the necessary modifications to the biological treatment process to reduce the bacteria levels and the work should be completed today," the statement said.

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