News Release 115

Blockage results in sewage overflow in Hannibal

Volume 38-115 (For Immediate Release)
Contact: Larry Archer

JEFFERSON CITY, MO., MARCH 11, 2010 – A blocked sewer line in Hannibal resulted in the release of an undetermined amount of untreated sewage Wednesday afternoon, according to the Missouri Department of Natural Resources.

An official with the Hannibal Board of Public Works notified the department’s Northeast Regional Office, Macon, Wednesday that the blockage had resulted in sewage overflowing from a manhole near the intersection of U.S. Highway 36 and Shinn Lane.

The sewage from the release flowed into a nearby storm sewer that discharges to a dry creek bed, more than one mile upstream of Bear Creek. Public works employees discovered the overflow at approximately 2:30 p.m., and the overflow was stopped shortly thereafter. Board officials called the department about 3:45 p.m., and an investigator was dispatched to the scene.

The department also notified the Marion County Health Department.

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 this case, 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 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