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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 25, 2010

Public urged to avoid swimming in Congaree River at Gist and Senate Streets

COLUMBIA - People using the Congaree River in the area of Gist and Senate streets in Columbia are advised not to swim or wade in that part of the river due to a tarry substance recently reported, the state Department of Health and Environmental Control reported today.

“Wading or swimming at this location which is just east of the Gervais Street bridge on the Columbia side of the river can disturb the material and cause a sheen to form on the surface of the water,” said Harry Mathis, director of DHEC’s Region 3 environmental quality control office. “While we try to determine what the material is and its source, people should avoid that immediate area. Other recreational uses of the river such as kayaking and canoeing are acceptable as they should not disturb the sediment.”

Mathis said DHEC staff has posted signs and staked out an area in the river where the material is present but is still working to define all areas where the substance may be located.

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For more information:
Thom Berry - (803) 898-3885
E-mail - berrytw@dhec.sc.gov
BNR1989