Nearly two weeks after a chemical spill, officials have lifted the ban on recreational activities in Tinker Creek.
After the latest round of water testing, the Virginia Department of Health has lifted the recreation advisory at the creek. According to officials, the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality tested water samples collected on Monday that have shown no evidence of Termix 5301.
About 165 gallons of that chemical spilled into the creek on July 29 from the Crop Production Services facility, according to officials, killing more than 40,000 fish.
“It’s been a wonderful place to live, and it is sad to see,” said Bertie Mayes, who has lived along Tinker Creek for almost 50 years.
Like other kids in the neighborhood, she said, her children and grandchildren would swim in the creek. But now, she said she would not let them go in the creek, despite the announcement from the Virginia Department of Health declaring the water safe for recreational activities.
“We’ve been watching to make sure that none of the neighborhood children have been playing in the creek,” Mayes said.
According to DEQ officials, water samples were collected between the location of the spill and the Route 24 bridge over the creek, and none found traces of the herbicide Termix 5301.
Some neighbors we spoke with said they feel comfortable using the water for purposes like irrigation. Others said they’re unsure and are still weary of entering the creek.
Neighbors like Mayes said they’re hopeful the creek will someday return to what it used to be.
“Children come from three or four blocks over, and they come down and wade in the creek and play, especially where the little falls are,” she said. “It’s a beautiful area, and that’s why we bought [a home] here.”
DEQ officials say it’s important to make sure pets never drink water directly from a stream since untreated surface water could make them sick.