(Gloucester Township, NJ) – Yesterday recreational restrictions were placed on the Big Timber Creek and its tributaries due to a sanitary spill into the waterway. Both the Camden County Health Department and state Department of Environmental Protection restricted swimming, drinking, fishing and eating fish from the waterways for at least 24 hours. Considering positive testing results taken from the creek today the current restrictions will be rescinded at 10 a.m. on June 20.
Freeholder Carmen Rodriguez said the responsive action taken by the Camden County Municipal Utility Authority and the Health Department limited the damage to the water quality.
“The Health Department has tested several sites throughout the creek and all of the results have come back with clean conditions,” Rodriguez said. “With the imminent storm system today and later tonight we are lifting all restrictions to the creek and its tributaries tomorrow morning at 10 a.m. Furthermore, I want to underscore the fact that drinking water was not affected by this spill in any way, shape or form. This spill was limited to the creek and did not come in contact with any drinking water reservoirs.”
To recap- at approximately 3:30 p.m. a Camden County Municipal Utility Authority (CCMUA) pump station adjacent to Big Timber Creek on Chews Landing Road lost power from electrical provider, PSE&G. The loss of power created a backup in the station and resulted in a spill of sanitary water into the Big Timber Creek. After about 90 minutes power was restored and the overflow was contained. Once the spill was under the control the Chews Landing Fire Department assisted in flushing the system and the CCMUA was able to restore it to proper working order.
Towns that have tributaries of the creek include, Gloucester Township, Camden City, Runnemede, Bellmawr, Barrington, Audubon Park and Mt. Ephraim. These municipalities should follow this public health advisory until Tuesday. The waterways will be monitored by the CCMUA, Health Department and the state DEP over the next several weeks.