News Release 370

Department of Natural Resources responds to wastewater release in Jefferson City

Volume 38-370 (For Immediate Release)
Contact:  Larry Archer
573-751-3807

JEFFERSON CITY, MO, JUNE 23, 2010 – The Missouri Department of Natural Resources is investigating a wastewater release reported Tuesday in Jefferson City.

City officials contacted the department shortly after noon Tuesday that an estimated 2,000 gallons of wastewater had overflowed from a manhole south of the intersection of Industrial Drive and Schellridge Road. The area drains into the west branch of Wears Creek, but it could not be determined whether any of the wastewater actually entered the creek.

The department’s regional office in Macon dispatched an investigator, who took water samples of the creek to determine if there were signs of contamination from the wastewater.

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 findings of the investigator.

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 obstructions in sewer lines, mechanical failure, 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 www.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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