Residents in Fortson want end to brown water

Large amounts of silt and clay are plaguing the waters of Fortson. Residents say it's all coming from the construction site of a new subdivision.

The brown water started showing up about four months ago, impacting lakes and creeks in the area.

"In the end of September 2011 we had some serious rains and overnight our lake turned from a nice green, pleasant looking lake to what you see now," said Pat Mitchell, a resident who lives on Almond Lake.

He says in the past 15 years heavy rains have occasionally brought muddy waters but it would clear up each time. But now, the brown water has lasted for 4 and half months and he says it's from construction upstream in Ivy Park subdivision.

"There's been a lot amount of silt and clay that's been released into our wetlands and watershed, and every time it rains we get more flushed into our lake."

Residents surrounding the water say silt and clay usually stay on site, but at Ivy Park, it has continued to run down with rain and they have no idea when the lake will have a chance to clear up.

We have paperwork showing a stop work order from the City of Columbus, from January 25th, to halt construction of North Ivy Park. The only work allowed is to correct deficiencies in the erosion control measures. "We all fish out here, we've enjoyed fishing over the years. There is no fishing out here, it's just not attractive at all and that we all know is hurting our home values."

Pat Mitchell says the Natural Resources department told him the wildlife that lives in and on the water will not be reproducing again. The current wildlife in the area are just trying to stay alive.

Pat Mitchell said just to see what was going on with the lake he took a water bottle sample and put it on the kitchen counter, it took 3 weeks for it to settle at the bottom of the bottle and that was without touching it. Lakes, creeks, and natural water will always have wind and rain that will make the settlement rise though.

Local residents who've reported the problem  are waiting for the city and the developer to move forward with the mediation and cleanup.

Dave Erickson, the developer of Ivy Park, says Ivy Park is not the sole reason for the Almond Lake contamination and the problem has existed in that area for several years; not just in the past few months as the residents claim.

We'll keep you updated on the situation.