Dozens of roofing nails have already been recovered from a Lee County swimming hole, but officials say that hundreds more remain on the creek bed. A dive team will take up the search on Saturday.
LEESBURG, Ga. — Members of the Lee County Fire Department's CERT Dive Team and other volunteers will attempt to collect dangerous debris from a favorite community swimming spot on the Kinchafoonee Creek this weekend.
Lee County Chief Marshall/Code Enforcement Officer Jim Wright said vandals dumped hundreds of roofing nails around the underground spring known as a "blue hole" along the Kinchafoonee, making the spot dangerous for swimmers who frequent the site.
"Things at that spot have been getting out of hand for a while now," Wright said. "But this is a new level of pollution. The property owners on both sides of the creek have complained about the beer cans and other debris being left by people swimming in the blue hole, but these roofing nails pose a danger to unsuspecting swimmers.
"We're asking the public to stay away from the area at least through the weekend, and we hope to get it cleaned up so that it's safe again. Dale Richter Roofing and Cook's Appliances have provided us with very strong magnets that we hope will get up most of the nails. It's just not safe there right now."
The naturally occurring blue hole provides an unusually cool swimming area during hot South Georgia summers, and groups frequently boat up the Kinchafoonee to the largest such spot on the state-owned waterway. However, adjacent property owners are left to clean up after many such partiers, and some have reported incidents of exposure and illegal consumption at the site, according to Wright.
"I don't know that we'll be able to catch the people who dumped the roofing nails at the blue hole, but if we do catch them we will bring charges," Wright said. "And I feel certain that any judge, when they look at what was done, will look to charge the maximum penalty the law allows.
"The sheriff's office and the DNR are looking into this matter because they have authority over the waterway. Certainly the pollution, littering and other activities are bad enough, but this is something else. We haven't had any reports of injuries yet, but you know what will happen. It won't be some drunk who's trashing the place who sticks one of those nails in his foot, it will be an innocent kid."
The Code Enforcement office has posted signs asking people not to swim around the blue hole until after the weekend cleanup effort.