News Release 335

Blown fuse at Christian County lift station results in wastewater overflow into Ozark pond

Volume 38-335 (For Immediate Release)
Contact:  Larry Archer
573-751-3807

JEFFERSON CITY, MO, JUNE 7, 2010 – A blown fuse at a Christian County wastewater lift station resulted in the early morning release of an estimated 100,000 gallons of sewage into a private pond, according to the Missouri Department of Natural Resources.

Ozark city officials contacted the department this afternoon to report that a blown fuse disabled a lift station near the intersection of U.S. Highway 65 and Route CC at approximately 3 a.m. today, allowing the sewage flowing into the lift station to back up and flow into a nearby private pond.

Upon arriving for work this morning wastewater treatment plant employees noticed the decrease in wastewater coming into the plant and tracked the problem down to the lift station. The station was brought back on line by 8:30 a.m.

Based on the time the station was out of service and the rate of wastewater flow traditionally handled by the facility, city officials estimate that 100,000 gallons of wastewater left the site and flowed into a nearby pond. City crews are pumping the wastewater from the pond back into the water treatment system.

The department has dispatched an investigator from its Southwest Regional Office in Springfield to the site.

Clean water regulations require the city to submit a report detailing the release to the department within five days. The department will base future enforcement action on the city’s report and the investigator’s findings.

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

Sanitary sewer overflows can be caused by mechanical failure, – such as in this case –, obstructions in sewer lines, infiltration of rainwater and snow melt into aging systems, or undersized systems that cannot compensate 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 dnr.mo.gov/env/wpp.

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 dnr.mo.gov.

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