Expert says South River is cleaner than ever before - CBS46 News

Expert says South River is cleaner than ever before

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DEKALB COUNTY, GA (CBS46) -

After federal involvement and hundreds of millions of dollars spent on cleanup efforts, some environmental experts say the South River is cleaner than it has been in years.

"I think the message that things have gotten better - and they have been getting better for years - has not gotten out to the public," said Jacqueline Echols.

Echols is the President of the South River Watershed Alliance Board of Directors. She said the money spent to clean up the river over the last 14 years has worked. In 2010, CBS46 took a sample of water from the South River and had it tested at Analytical Environmental Services. After a battery of tests, scientists with the company said the water contained E. coli at a level 12 times the acceptable limit. Wednesday, four years later, another sample of water from the South River was collected and turned over to AES. Echols said whatever the tests reveal, they won't be an accurate reflection of the quality of the water.

"To do water-quality sampling, there is a protocol, and protocol is to ensure the validity of the sample. If you aren't adhering to the protocol, then your results are questionable," Echols said.

Although CBS46 did not collect the water sample using the guidelines laid out by local and state authorities, we do believe it can shed light on what is in the water on a that particular day. Either way, Echols said she's encouraged about the future of the river.

"In five years, with the good work everyone is doing, yes, I expect to see the river keep improving," Echols said.

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