Reported Water Pollution Linked to Starr Hill Brewery

Courtesy: Virginia DEQ
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April 13, 2011

Concern over what came out of Starr Hill Brewery and ended up in a nearby creek is flowing through the Albemarle County community of Crozet.

The investigation began when one resident reported frogs were dying and another claimed her dog had become sick, all because of what appeared to be pollution in Lickinghole Creek just a few hundred feet from the brewery.

Investigators with the Virginia Department of Environment Quality (DEQ) took photos of the creek with hopes of tracking down the source of something that smelled like sewage flowing from the brewery into the water.

“It was sort of a sewage smell. I mean that was the first thought that crossed my mind, that it was some sort of sewage problem. It was really bad,” said resident Sharon Clarke.

The water runs through the Western Ridge Housing development where families and their dogs frequent the creek. The DEQ has been working with Starr Hill and says they have remedied the problem. However, evidence of gunk was found downstream.

Investigator Ted Turner wrote this in his report: “As we reached the flowing section of the stream, large amounts of solids were apparent and had settled along the stream bank.”

A follow-up exchange of emails between the DEQ and Starr Hill indicates some of the material had originated with a truck that hauled grain used to make beer. That haul was reportedly spilled over a drainage pipe at the rear of the brewery property, a short distance from the creek.

Despite the reports, the DEQ says there is no danger to people or pets, and they will continue to monitor the situation to make sure the sewage small does not return to the area.

CBS19 tried to contact Starr Hill for comment but we have not received a response.

Photo 1. Eastward view of the Southern face of property, w/ suspended pipe on the right (south) side of RR tracks. (Virginia DEQ)

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