Press release from the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources, shared Oct. 4

RALEIGH – Officials ended warnings on Oct. 4 about people coming into contact with water in a Graham County creek after state tests revealed the creek’s water quality had improved since a malfunction was reported at a nearby wastewater treatment plant.

State and local officials in August urged people to avoid contact with Long Creek after water quality samples revealed that partially treated wastewater was making its way into the creek. Due to a malfunction, the Robbinsville wastewater treatment plant was discharging the partially treated wastewater into the creek.

State officials determined in August that public water supplies were not affected, but urged people to avoid fishing, drinking from, swimming or having contact with Long Creek.

Testing conducted by the N.C. Division of Water Resources this month revealed that water quality had improved in Long Creek. State officials say the better water quality is likely the result of a series of improvements to Robbinsville’s wastewater treatment plant. Those improvements also helped bring the plant and the treated discharge into compliance with state water quality regulations.

The state agency is considering enforcement actions for impacts to the creek and other permit violations.

At the time of the malfunction, Robbinsville had started constructing a new wastewater treatment plant to replace the existing facility. The new plant is expected to begin operation later this month.

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Angie Newsome was the executive director and editor of Carolina Public Press. Contact her at (828) 774-5290 or e-mail her at

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