Multiple fishermen not comfortable eating fish from Flint Creek in Decatur

Updated: Jun. 23, 2020 at 9:52 PM CDT
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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - We’re staying on your side digging into a new report out of Morgan County.

On Tuesday, the nonprofit Tennessee Riverkeeper sent us some results from a water test at Mud Tavern Creek.

The founder says chemicals are flowing in from a former landfill site that the company 3M once used to dispose of by-products.

“It’s kind of scary, you know. Those chemicals, you know, it’s not good for it to be in the water.”

The Tennessee Riverkeeper says the data they pulled from Mud Tavern Creek shows PFAS levels as high as 51,000 parts per trillion.

That’s thousands of times higher than the EPA’s recommended level for drinking.

The water from there flows into the Flint Creek River which flows passed Point Mallard Park, finally ending up into the Tennessee River.

So the big question, what does this mean for Decatur’s drinking water?

We reached out to Decatur Utilities.

Spokesman Joe Holmes tells us that the runoff from the creek is diluted by the Tennessee River before reaching the plant’s intake.

In a statement he said, “While storm water runoff from this landfill makes its way via Flint Creek into the Tennessee River upstream of the DU Water Treatment Plant, it is highly diluted by other water within the watershed as well as the hundreds of millions of gallons of water in the Wheeler Basin Reservoir before entering the plant’s intake. Thus, the levels of PFCs in tests of DU’s water supply have consistently been less than 5 PPT, which is near minimum detection levels and well below the EPA’s advisory limit of 70 PPT for lifetime exposure.

But Tennessee River Keeper founder, David Whiteside says he’s concerned about the people fishing in these waters.

“I wont eat them. Even if I catch a nice catfish I probably wouldn’t eat it,” Gary Jones, who lives in Decatur said.

Gary Jones says he spends a lot of his free time fishing in the area, but he always throws them back

He says he has heard other fishermen talking about the chemicals

“Now that it came up a second time, I wouldn’t eat them,” he said.

Bobby Kelso says he’s also not comfortable eating them, saying, “There’s no telling whats in that water.”

But he has friends that are OK with it.

“I got a friend, like everything I catch here I take to him and him and his family eats them,” Kelso said.

Right now there is a fish advisory for the Flint Creek, but it is only warning for mercury in fish and makes no mention of any other chemicals.

Lynn Battle with the Alabama Department of Environmental Equality says they will soon be an updated map for fall 2020. We will be sure to update you when more information is available.

We’ve reached out to 3M for their reaction to Tennessee Riverkeeper’s findings. The Decatur location referred us to their corporate office.

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