Bogue Chitto sewage spill hurting local businesses - - Jackson, MS

Bogue Chitto sewage spill hurting local businesses

Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
MCCOMB, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

The Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality began testing the Bogue Chitto River on Tuesday after a 1.3 million gallon sewage spill. 

People whose livelihoods depend on the river say the all-clear can't come fast enough.

"Not so many people show up when they hear there's a sewage spill in the river," said John Thompson, a manager at the Bogue Chitto Waterpark in McComb.

Workers at the Bogue Chitto Waterpark said the river should be completely clear because it hasn't been raining much these past few days. Instead, the water is murky and brownish-green.

Bryan Ryals owns a canoe and tube rental shop just down the road from the water park. The business has been in his family for 30 years, but he says this has been a rough season.

"It really sucks. I mean it does," said Ryals. "Especially because I've got employees that really needed it. And if you don't make any money, it's hard for me to pay them. That has to come out of my pocket."

Flooding in Louisiana last month did a number on businesses by the Boque Chitto. Ryals had booked several large groups for the month of September that he hoped would rejuvenate his business, but he had to call and cancel - another major blow.

"We don't even answer the phone no more. Because there's no need," he said.

MDEQ is testing to make sure chlorine levels, pH, sediment and so  on return to normal. They'll get results back from that test around Wednesday, and check again Thursday.

They can't lift the water advisory until two tests come back clear.

"Most of our campers, cabins kind of rely on the river as far as activities," said Thompson. "Fishing, swimming, things of that nature."

"I'm pretty sure this year's shot," Ryals said, looking disappointed. "As far as next year, I don't know. People will still be a little skeptical coming, even after they clean it up."

MDEQ says it's hard to know exactly when the spill will be cleared up, but they expect this canoe will be out of the water for at least a week.

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