GEORGIA--Line Break Dumps Raw Sewage : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread


March 14, 2000

Line break dumps raw sewage in east Macon

By Christopher Schwarzen The Macon Telegraph

A sewage line break caused more than 10,000 gallons of raw sewage to seep into a tributary of Walnut Creek near Kensington Drive on Thursday.

The Macon Water Authority said Monday all sewage has been removed from the stream and that there is no health threat to individuals or wildlife.

Because the spill was more than 10,000 gallons it is considered a major spill by the state's Environmental Protection Division. Water authority Executive Director Gene Holcomb said it has notified the state EPD.

Thursday's spill was probably caused by a sewage line break, according to Frank Sanders, the water authority's field operations director. A stormwater pipe sits on top of the sewage line running near Kensington, he said.

"The stormwater line appears to have settled on top of the sewage line, cracking a joint of clay pipe," Sanders said.

The water authority began monitoring the stream Thursday for coliform levels. High levels can be an indication of fecal coliform, a bacteria that can cause sickness in humans if ingested.

The water authority, under state guidelines, must test coliform levels daily for one week, then once a week for a month. Three months from the spill date, it must test again once a week for a month. Finally, 12 months after the spill, it will test again once a week for a month. Samples will be sent to the state.

The sampling will cost about $3,000, which comes from residential and commercial user fees, Holcomb said.

Thursday's spill is the second major spill of the year, following a Feb. 7 spill in the Lake Wildwood subdivision. Sewage spilled from a manhole into a creek running toward the lake. None of the sewage actually ended up in Lake Wildwood, Holcomb said.

An EPD official said Monday that the division was investigating the Lake Wildwood spill and might take action against the water authority.

"We had a meeting with (the water authority)," said Jim Sommerville, a supervisor in the EPD's permitting, compliance and enforcement branch. "We are waiting for their reaction to the spill and are finalizing our response now."

The Kensington spill will not be a factor in whether or not the water authority is fined for the Lake Wildwood spill, Sommerville said. But an action for the Kensington spill might also be considered.

Holcomb said the EPD is looking more closely at the Wildwood spill because of the lake's recreational uses.

The water authority reported six major spills during 1999 and was fined $7,500 by the state in February. It has since paid the fine, Holcomb said. Fines are also paid for with residential and commercial user fees.

-- (, March 14, 2000

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