Dawson’s Creek Is Overflowing With Sewage In Real Life

The most famous creek in TV history is running on hard times.

Oh no. I have quite literally the sh*ttiest news for lifelong “Dawson’s Creek” fans (I know you’re out there! Hi! I’m a total Pacey. You?).

Last summer, 442,000 gallons of untreated sewage spilled into the creek used for the show, which is actually called Hewletts Creek, located in Wilmington, North Carolina. A lighting strike hit one of the main sewage pumps, taking out both the station and its alarm system — and for seven hours raw sewage spilled into the creek faster than Joey-induced tears from Dawson’s beautiful brown eyes.

It seems that nobody reported on the creek’s TV connection at the time, because they were too busy holding their noses. But today, Salon.com has a great piece by local writer David Gessner (originally titled “Up Sh*t Creek”) about living in this town that we all imagined living in at one point:

“When sewage spills into a marsh, you get an immediate increase in the levels of nitrogen and phosphorus,” [research professor Mike] Mallin said when I went by his office. That allows microbes to live longer, he explained — the kind that can cause illness and even death from eating contaminated shellfish. “But within a day or so of the Hewletts Creek spill, the levels really decreased,” he said. [...]

As resilient as marshes are, Mallin’s team did discover something disturbing. “The problem comes when the fecal bacteria sink to the bottom, in the dark with plenty of nitrogen and phosphorus to feed on,” he said. “While the water itself might get cleaned up, the bacteria remain in the sediment, ready to be stirred up if a dog or a kid comes wading along.”

Yeah, it doesn’t sound quite as dreamy now as it did in the ’90s, but the community still has hope. And Gessner sums it up quite beautifully:

Coastal resort towns like this one rely on selling an image, and it is understandable that we prefer the gloss of beauty to the ugliness of fact. But the work ahead means seeing beyond the gloss. After all, to know a place means to know all of it. I, for one, am ready to get on with it, willing to face both the beauty and the ugliness of this place I now call home.

Really though, how amazing would it have been to see the DCC (Dawson Creek Crew) tackle this issue in an episode? They would each make the creek full of sh*t about them, a metaphor for Dawson’s love life! A metaphor for Pacey’s angst! A metaphor for Jen’s anger! A metaphor for Jack’s sexuality! A metaphor for Joey’s…actually, Joey, just shut up. I always hated your mouth and voice. Go jump in that creek. Isn’t nostalgia great?

David Dean is the founder of Serial Optimist and writer of things that hopefully make you smile. Find him all over MTV, Thought Catalog, HelloGiggles and "Google."