E. coli found in Olive Branch lake

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OLIVE BRANCH, Miss. — Muddy brown water and a thick green substance are surfacing Lake Shahkoka.

"Heartbroken...we saved 25 years to be able to have a house on the lake," Joanne Nichols said.

"It's terrible, I have lakefront property and I'm looking out here and seeing a cesspool of mud, and I don't know what this green stuff is growing," Tom Hand said.

A few weeks ago, both Nichols, her husband and Hand came home to this note telling residents in the Maywood community not to swim or fish because the lake is contaminated.

"So we have two big problems going on, the sewer and the developers that are being allowed to dump their drainage water into our lake, that's why our lake is so muddy," Nichols said.

Neighbors say they got a short email from Alderman Gill Earhart that said E. coli was found in the water and more water quality tests were to come. In another letter, Earhart stated the city should have a contract in place with a qualified environmental company that will conduct the cleanup of the lake.

Neighbors say it's been weeks and nothing has been done.

"I personally can't speak for anyone else, but I feel betrayed by our city officials because they have the authority and in my opinion the responsibility to protect our property rights," Nichols said.

Meanwhile, wildlife is still swimming in the lake.

"We've had three dead Canada geese this week I know of on the lake," Nichols said.

"Over memorial day weekend there was hundreds of dead fish," Hand said. "I just hope that someone will step up to the plate, and let's do something and fix this because this is unacceptable."

Earhart says he hopes get the water quality back to safe levels by the end of September.

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