Should residents be concerned about sewage spill in Bogue Chitto?

Ashley Rodrigue talks about how businesses and residents are being affected by the Bougue Chitto River.

ISABEL, La. --  The usually sparkling, clear waters of the Bogue Chitto are what Hollis Adams turns to for everyday living on the river.

"When I get ready for a mess of fish, I go catch 'em and it don't take long to do it," he said.

Monday, the dirty disposition of the waterway, due to the release of six-million gallons of storm-water diluted sewage in Brookhaven, MS, has him questioning the future of his meals later this week and in the long-term.

RELATED: 6 million gallons of sewage leaks into Bogue Chitto River

"If it's in the water and the river don't get up and flush it out, it's gonna settle on the bottom and be there every time a boat comes by, it's gonna stir it up again," said Adams.

This isn't just a recreational setback; it's also affecting businesses that rely on the river.

Tony Mizell said his Bogue Chitto Tubing and Canoe business was slowed by the March flood and now shut down because of the sewage spill.  It's affecting him and about a dozen other businesses from Isabel, north into Mississippi, who usually operate into the end of October, which financially lasts them through re-opening in the Spring.

"It was the end of my season, if anything good about it," said Mizell, "But I don't know about next Summer, next Spring. A lot of people been calling.

We had a big bunch coming Sunday we had to call and cancel."

Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality said the release was of organic material, which dilutes as it flows, especially with good sunlight, but many are skeptical the substances will deteriorate that easily.

"I know our people are going to tell us that it's safe to swim in next week or some time, but I challenge them to come down here and swim with us if it's safe to swim in," Mizell said.

Leaving the tomorrows of this treasured tributary, for many locals, as cloudy as its current condition.

Officials say the spill is expected to flow out of the area by the end of the week. 

DEQ officials say testing of the river this week will determine whether the advisory will be extended to include the Pearl River, where the Bogue Chitto flows into the river.
 

(© 2016 WWL)


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