DHEC: Langley Pond safe to swim

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Thursday, Feb. 27, 2014

AIKEN COUNTY, S.C. (WRDW) -- "If it got on your vehicle it would take the paint off your vehicle," Ralph Gunter said.

Ralph Gunter has been going to Langley Pond all his life. He said that's how the water was decades ago.

Minnows wouldn't even live in this pond. Now there's fish in it. There's minnows in it around the edge. You see sandy bottoms and it's a great improvement.

The pollution started in Horse Creek in the 1900's, and chemicals from untreated waste from textile mills found their way here.

Two years ago DHEC and Aiken County teamed up for an extensive environmental study. They released the results Thursday.

They say the waters here in Langley Pond are safe for recreational use.

They tested the surface water and the sediment for PCB, mercury, and other chemicals.

They analyzed 322 samples and found natural sedimentation is helping. New soil going over the black sludge. They say it will continue over the next 30 years, but people at the meeting are still concerned.

DHEC says you'd have to be completely covered in mud to be at risk for exposure to anything dangerous.

"Not only would you have to look like this but when you came out of the mud you would have to stay like that for 8 hrs,"Lucas Berresford said.

Anthony Negron and his wife were spending their day at Langley. He said he's not worried about the water.

"I think it's an under utilized pond I don't see a lot of people coming here and I think it would be nice if more people came here," Negron said.

Experts say it's safe to swim, but there is still a fish advisory in place here. They put up more signs to let people know what fish you can eat and how often you can eat it.

"I don't know if I'll go under the water but I'll walk around in it and all but I don't know they say it's safe," Gunter said.

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