The Appalachian District Health Department has sent out a notice for residents and visitors to avoid recreational activities at the Watauga River in the vicinity of Foscoe.
According to a statement from the department on Friday night, an unknown petroleum-like substance appears to be seeping into the Watauga River between Church Road and Riverside Farm Road. The statement goes to say that the advisory applies only to that section.
The investigation is underway to determine if any hazards exist to humans or livestock and to determine the source and contain the substance.
Taylor Marsh, Watauga County Emergency Management Coordinator, says in the statement, “We are working in a coordinated response to this concern between Watauga County, Appalachian District Health Department, NC Department of Environmental Quality and the NC Department of Health and Human Services.”
Environmental and health officials recommend the following:
- Avoid swimming, wading or fishing in this section of the Watauga River area until further notice.
- Avoid skin contact with water, soil and sediment in or near the river.
- If skin comes in contact with contaminated sediment or water, thoroughly wash the affected area with soap and water.
Officials with the NC Department of Environmental Quality in coordination with the Environmental Protection Agency will be conducting water quality sampling and planning for control and remediation of the problem.
Appalachian District Health Department goes on to say, “At this time, we have no recommendations related to private drinking water wells near the site. Additional guidance will be provided as warranted as recommendations and guidance are received.”
Questions or concerns should be phoned into Appalachian District Health Department at 828-264-4995 ext. 1114. Please leave name and phone number for a return call.