News Release 028

Clogged sewer lines result in pair of Lebanon sewer overflows

Volume 38-028
(For Immediate Release)
Contact: Larry Archer

JEFFERSON CITY, MO., JAN. 22, 2010 -- A pair of clogged sewer lines contributed to two sanitary sewer overflows resulting in the release of an estimated 10,000 gallons of untreated wastewater in Lebanon on Jan. 19. The city reported the spill to the Missouri Department of Natural Resources the following day.

In the first incident, wastewater from a clogged sewer line backed up and overflowed from a manhole off Manors Drive, between the airport and Interstate 44, in Lebanon. An estimated 8,000 gallons of wastewater entered a drainage ditch, where it pooled and remained in the ditch. City crews removed the clog and pumped the wastewater back into sewer system.

The city also reported a smaller release that occurred near the intersection of Lake Drive and Glenridge Street on the city's south side. An estimated 2,000 gallons of wastewater seeped from a manhole. The slow leak of wastewater was believed to have occurred over the course of three days before it was reported to the city. The wastewater was also contained nearby and was pumped back into the sewer system after the clog was removed.

The department dispatched an inspector from its Lake of the Ozarks satellite office who inspected both sites.

The two most recent overflows follow a number of incidents involving the sewer system in Lebanon. The cases involving overflows in November, December and earlier this month have all been referred to the department's water pollution enforcement unit for review and further action as deemed appropriate.

The department considers discharges of wastewater from sanitary sewer collection systems to be threats to public health and the environment. Such discharges can contaminate lakes and streams, causing serious water quality problems.

Sanitary sewer overflows can be caused by obstructions in sewer lines, such as in the most recent cases, mechanical failure, infiltration of rainwater and snow melt into aging systems or undersized systems that cannot compensation for sudden increases in wastewater.

Communities across Missouri produce millions of gallons of wastewater that must be properly transported and treated before being released to waterways. However, some communities are facing challenges in accomplishing this.

In order to protect public health and the environment, the department requires communities to take appropriate action to eliminate their sanitary sewer overflow issues. To do this, communities should develop a system to track information about such incidents, including the date, time, location and size of the overflow, weather data, who notified them, when they notified the department and the measures taken to respond. The community can then use this data to aid in developing a plan to inspect the collection system, and plan and finance system upgrades.

For more information on sanitary sewer overflows or other water quality issues, contact the Department of Natural Resources' Water Protection Program at 573-751-1300 or 800-361-4827 or visit the department's website at

To report an environmental emergency, including sewage overflows, please contact the DNR spill line at 573-634-2436. For more information contact the department at 800-361-4827 or 573-751-3443, or visit the department's Web page at