News Release 371

Department investigates sewer release in Blue Springs

Volume 38-371 (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 overflow that resulted in the release of approximately 1,500 gallons of sewage into a Blue Springs waterway Tuesday evening.

City officials notified the department early today that the sewage escaped from a manhole in the 900 block of NW Heatherwood and entered an unnamed tributary to the Little Blue River. The overflow occurred between 9 p.m. and 11 p.m. The city is still investigating the cause of the overflow.

The city limed the area to disinfect the ground and path of the overflow before it entered the creek.  The city states there was no debris or solids lost by this overflow.

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 results of its on-scene investigation.

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; 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 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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