State regulators are investigating a possible petroleum leak on the Broad River that is moving toward the Columbia Canal, one of the city’s primary drinking water sources.
The Department of Health and Environmental Control reports that a sheen of petroleum was first spotted near SCE&G’s Parr Hydro station near Jenkinsville.
"We’re monitoring the water upstream of the power plant. We haven’t found the source of the leak but it is not an ongoing leak," DHEC spokesman Adam Myrick told The State.
The petroleum has drifted downstream and residual traces have been spotted at the canal. The city of Columbia stopped feeding water from the canal into the water supply after they were notified of the leak, Myrick said.
The agency does not know where the petroleum came from or for sure that it is petroleum, but for now, DHEC is "not recommending any protective action," Myrick said.
"There is no current threat to public health or any reason for people to stay out of the water," he said after pointing out that the area where the slick has been seen is a calm stretch of the Broad River popular for row boating.