The death of hundreds of fish in the Leith Creek have some East Laurinburg residents worried.
The massive fish kill was investigated Wednesday by state regulators.
Locals say that the fish, amassed at the bottom of a set of large drainpipes on the north side of McKay Street, were first noticed on Monday.
Officials the N.C. Division of Water Quality in Fayetteville were alerted to the problem on Tuesday afternoon.
East Laurinburg Town Commissioner Betty Robbins described the creek as a popular fishing spot. Tuesday afternoon several people could be seen fishing near the Commonwealth Street site despite the assemblage of fish carcasses downstream.
“It’s not only fish, there are beavers and turtles - I didn’t know there were fish that big in that creek,” Robbins said. “We should be concerned. There are little fish up and down both sides of the banks down across Commonwealth and through McDuffie Village.”
Leith Creek forms part of the border between Laurinburg and East Laurinburg before flowing northwest toward U.S. 501. Robbins advised that no one should eat fish caught in the creek until the cause of the death has been determined.
Belinda Henson, regional supervisor for the Division of Water Quality, said that state inspectors were at the site on Wednesday to perform tests, but could not provide further information.
“When they cleaned that creek out 15 or 20 years ago it was beautiful, the water was clear, the fish were beautiful, people could go fishing down there, but now it’s gotten really trashed out,” said former East Laurinburg resident Michael Robbins, now of Laurel Hill.
“There’s no telling what could be causing it - I hope the environmentalists can find out what’s going on because that creek is kind of like a landmark.”