Construction debris pollutes Columbia County pond

By: Stephanie Baker
By: Stephanie Baker

Booming growth and construction in Columbia County could be creating some problems with the environment.

News 12's Stephanie Baker visited one neighborhood pond where construction debris is polluting the water.

Lots of Columbia County houses sit on Bowens Pond...but it's a place some people say is slowly disappearing. All sorts of things have flowed into the pond throughout the years, from construction runoff to sewage.

John Rowlett lives on the pond and says the mud is has taken over in just a few years.

"We've become a dumping ground...a retention pond of sorts for upstream problems they haven't taken care of," Rowlett says.

And the recent construction boom is adding to the problem.

Rowlett and hundreds of others signed a petition for the county to clean it up.

Commissioners voted to hold off for now, but chairman Ron Cross disagrees.

"We have the responsibility for it," Cross says. "Personally I think we need to fix the problem or get rid of the pond."

Fixing it would cost $1 million, which Cross says they don't have right now.

Another worry is nearby sewer lines.

"We've had some problems where it backed up so much sewage spilled in," Rowlett says.

The Water Department says that can happen during heavy rain.

Rowlett's neighbor Diane Polak is worried about the wildlife.

"It's a pretty pond...to see the birds in the morning and hear them at the outside," Polak says.

And she's concerned about the possible pollution.

Some of the standing water has a pinkish tint--the appearance of a chemical. Rowlett says a water department test shows it's fine. His biggest complaint for commissioners is the mud taking over his former waterfront property.

"Be responsible for what you've done. We have all these taxpayers here and we can't get commissioners to help us out," he says.

Some of the neighbors here say they're going to keep going to meetings until the pond is restored.

Funding the cleanup is part of a $40 million bond the county is considering.

Anyone in the county can tell commissioners where they think the money should go.

There are two upcoming meetings May 11th and June 8th.

You can also download a survey at www.columbiacountyga.gov.


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