December 30, 2009

Top 10 Sewer Overflow Stories of 2009

Posted in National at 7:30 pm by bradhannon

We hope you like the list from yesterday on the Top 10 water main breaks of 2009. As previously noted, the daily headlines will return on January 4.  Today we’re counting down the top 10 Sewer Overflow stories of 2009. On to the list.

10. In Michigan, the state’s Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) suggested that CSOs, of partially treated stormwater and sanitary sewage, should be called “retention treatment basin discharges.” The state’s DEQ argues that the RTB label is a better one, because not all CSOs receive partial treatment in the state.

9. More than three million gallons of raw sewage poured into the Ohio River near Louisville, Kentucky last month. Officials said the sewage is from two sewer overflow points just upstream from a wastewater treatment plant.

8. In Columbus, Ohio, the city received approval from Ohio EPA in February to complete a $2.5 billion wet weather management plan to reduce sewer overflows. The Columbus sewer system currently discharges 1.65 billion gallons of sewer overflow in a typical year.

7. Shepard Park Beach in Lake George, New York, was closed for the remainder of the summer after a July 5 sewage spill. The beach was shut down after a pipe broke in the village’s main sewage pump station spewing nearly 10,000 gallons of pollution across the beach and into the lake.

6. In June, the giant Upper Rouge Tunnel combined sewer overflow control project was canceled Friday by Detroit city officials worried about residents’ ability to pay increased sewer fees to build the $1.2 billion project.

5. The New York Times as part of its ongoing series on the worsening pollution in America’s waters, focused on the alarming number of sewer overflows across the country. The article cited data from the EPA that  in the last three years alone, more than 9,400 of the nation’s 25,000 sewage systems have reported violating the Clean Water Act by dumping untreated or partly treated human waste, chemicals and other hazardous materials into rivers and lakes and streams.

4. Storms that pelted Mid-Missouri in October dumped more than 5 inches of rain in about a 24-hour period, causing 29 sanitary sewer overflow incidents according to the Columbia Department of Public Works–the highest number of such events from a single rainstorm in Columbia in more than 30 years.

3. A sewer overflow from a storm that dumped 6.9 inches on Morgan Hill, California caused the cancellation of a fundraiser to feed the homeless. Much of the city was underwater as the largest storm in decades hit the Bay Area.

2. More than 1 billion gallons of partially treated sewage was dumped into the Saginaw River during the first four months of the year according to the Bay City Times. The city of Saginaw was the largest contributor of CSOs to the river with approximately 904 million gallons.

1. The largest sewage spill in North Carolina in at least a decade went unreported for about 20 days until an environmentalist notified federal investigators that millions of gallons of untreated wastewater had flowed into a tributary that feeds into a lake popular with boaters and fishermen. A a 32-year veteran of the City of Thomasville’s Public Works department resigned from the fallout over the unreported spill.

That’s it for 2009. Thanks for reading. Regular posting will resume on January 4.

1 Comment »

  1. Unbelievable list!

    Thanks for compiling this. The NYT article expresses a great deal of concern over the fact that spills and unplanned ‘events’ seem to be on the increase. Will be very interesting to compare this list to one at the end of 2010!

    Thanks very much!

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