E. Coli levels ‘getting back to normal’ at Cypress Creek, McKellar Lake

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- In recent weeks, people living nearby McKellar Lake or who boat and fish in its waters have made their health and safety concerns known to city leaders during open meetings.

"We need to totally be concerned about not just levels of E. coli, but what kinds of E. coli," said Carolyn Bell during one of those meetings.

"How long are we going to be down? They can't answer that problem," added Larry Stanley.

Ever since March 31, health concerns remain high after millions of gallons of sewage spilled into water sources such as McKellar Lake, Cypress Creek and the Loosahatchie River.

WREG wanted to know if the city of Memphis plugged the leaks and and how they will make sure the water is safe.

"In terms of these recent failures, we had huge rain events," said Public Works Director Robert Knecht. "The wettest March on record and that exacerbated issues creating erosion problems. We realize there are challenges that seasonally affect us."

He went on to say things are getting back to normal at Cypress Creek and McKellar Lake.

"Good news for McKellar Lake. The samples are coming back to normal levels. So, it's recovered quickly. So, we should have part of it reopened soon."

As for the Loosahatchie, Knecht said crews were able to successfully stop the leak there.

"It's all done. It's all contained and again we are making preparations to do permanent repair."

Repairs the city hopes will restore confidence and trust among the public, especially those directly impacted by the leaks.

"These incidents were beyond control, but we feel we have a responsibility to do something to mitigate these effects," said Knecht.

The Public Works director also told WREG the city is now using new technology to treat reservoirs and drinking water in Memphis.

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