ANDERSON CO., S.C. (WSPA) – Water is an essential part of life, and some of it in Anderson County has been contaminated since 2014.

The contamination was not only was it one of the largest gasoline spills in South Carolina history but across the United States.

“At least 369,000 gallons, we think as many as half a million gallons,” Southern Environmental Law Center attorney, Frank Holleman said. “That puts it in the top 1% of all pipeline spills in the last 50 years.”

Also, the Anderson County community was devastated when an underground Kinder Morgan pipe burst around 9 years ago.

“This is a problem that could’ve been avoided,” said Anderson County Councilmember Cindy Wilson.

To this day, the creeks in the Belton area still carry pollution from the gasoline spill.

“It’s an ongoing cleanup, it’s a massive problem. If you go over there now it’s already leached into the waterway,” Wilson said.

In 2020, a $1.5 million settlement was reached with the company responsible, and now that money is finally being used to restore the creeks.

“Water is vital, and we took it for granted for too long,” Wilson said.

Anderson’s Rocky River conservancy and the Soil and Water Conservation District are launching programs to improve the water quality and educate the county about clean water.

“This will be a big help in the right direction, it really will,” Wilson said.

The two organizations will plant water buffers, conduct water quality testing, and give community members Adopt-A-Stream kits.

“Which will go a long way towards providing clean water in this county hopefully for generations to come,” Wilson said.

Anderson County said they hope to have the creeks back to how they were before the spill in less than 20 years.

If you live in Anderson County you can be a part of the cleanup efforts, click here.