Mountain Island Lake to be tested for E.Coli following sewage spill

The Catawba River Keeper plans to test the water in Mountain Island Lake on Thursday for E. Coli following a massive sewage spill.

Until all the water is cleared up, officials don't want anyone getting in the water.

Since the weekend storms all kinds of debris has been seen floating in the lake and the Catawba River, and the water remains murky. There’s been plenty of trash, and even a hot tub, not to mention the boats stacked up against the Highway 16 bridge.

“Some of the weirdest things that I haven't personally seen was the community docks that washed away,” said Mountain Island Lake resident Frank Armstrong.

Now, there's gas from overturned boats and 100,000 gallons of raw sewage that spilled into a stream leading into the lake. 

“Whenever you get a lot of rain or a lot of water, then those lines will fill up or pumps will fail and they spill right in over the water body,” said Rusty Rozzelle, the water quality program manager for Charlotte Mecklenburg Stormwater Services.

Rozzelle says they're going to test the water Friday to see what kind of contaminants they're dealing with. So what does this mean for you?

"Things like swimmers ear, shigosis, shigella,” says Brandon Jones with the Catawba River Keeper. 

He described the potential illness you could get from swimming in sewage-contaminated water. On Friday, crews will be back out in boats conducting tests.

“We'll be collecting some water samples,” Rozzelle said. “It'll be a physical tour of the river looking for pollution sources and we'll be collecting some water samples mainly for bacteria.”

So how does all of this get cleaned up? It really doesn't. Rozzelle says the water will take it down stream and flush it out of the area.

As for the drinking water, Charlotte Water says it goes through a very thorough treatment process and the drinking water isn't in danger of pollution.