Mysterious Chemical Kills Everything in Lauren Creek

Reported by: Bill Mitchell

Edited by: Ashley Henderson
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Updated: 8/12 6:49 pm
BLEDSOE COUNTY, TN. (WDEF-TV) - Tennessee rivers, streams and waterways are frequently contaminated by industry.
State environmentalists try to keep it from happening again after cleanup.
But no one can explain why Laurel Creek in Bledsoe county has been hit twice.
Angry residents want to know who's doing it, and why.

BOBBY DAVIS, BLEDSOE COUNTY RESIDENT "Obviously somebody has dumped some hazardous material either voluntarily,knowingly or unknowingly into this water and it seems like it's a once a month deal."

Bobby Davis is a pastor and a former Bledsoe county commissioner.
He has lived here, a half mile from Laurel Creek , for 40 years.
He first noticed an unusual yellow color 2 months ago.
Later, he found out just how serious that contamination was.

BOBBY DAVIS "Whatever was put into the creek was toxic to every living thing in the creek and even the flora and moss would turn brown."

And in July, it happened again.
Neighbor Dion Swafford and Davis run a camp for veterans near the creek.
Swafford is angry about what the pollution has done to that area.

DION SWAFFORD, JR., BLEDSOE COUNTY RESIDENT "We can usually see the bottom of this ..usually see the bottom ..throw a piece a bread out there..feed the littlebream, bluegill ..I've got a granddaughter I would have loved to bring down here ..fed the fish with..or catch one or two."

Swafford wonders why its taking so long to determine what is going on with Laurel Creek.
Davis has called on several governmental agencies for help, including TDEC, the Agriculture Department, Tennessee Wildlife and even the EPA out of Atlanta.

DAVIS "This is the second time. And, uh, they took samples before..and never gotm results back from them ..but the water was more clear then."

DION SWAFFORD "For this to be the only creek in this area with all the contributaries coming into it...to look like this..there's something wrong."

Kelly Brockman of the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation told us by phone that there is an active investigation into the pollution of Lauren Creek, but so far, the cause has not been determined.

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