Environmental groups and state officials are still assessing water quality data collected after a fire broke out at the Winston Weaver fertilizer plant January 31. The Yadkin Riverkeeper says early results of chemicals found raise a lot of questions.
It's unclear how much of the chemicals ended up in area waters.
But state data from February 2 does show elevated levels of ammonium nitrogen, nitrates and phosphorus in local creeks around the plant and the Yadkin River.
In Winston-Salem, a warning was issued to stay out of Muddy, Mill and Monarcas creeks downstream from the Winston Weaver fertilizer plant; that was canceled Thursday.
Davidson Water, which serves thousands of rural residents in Davidson County, cut off its drinking water intake pumps when they learned about the fire — but pumping resumed soon after.
Yadkin Riverkeeper Edgar Miller says he doesn't believe drinking water was negatively impacted from the event but says it's too early for an overall assessment.
“We only have data for just one day," he says. "And to really determine the long-term impact they will need to see how the chemicals were either diluted or their concentration increased over time, but we won't really know until we see the data from the state."
The Yadkin Riverkeeper is also reviewing sampling results from the Environmental Protection Agency taken during the first week in February, which found high levels of some contaminants in waterways near the plant.
Miller says there are concerns that all of this could end up in High Rock Lake, which is already dealing with a large amount of nutrient pollution and potentially toxic algae blooms.
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