News Release 266

Pump failure results in release of 300,000 gallons of wastewater to stream in Republic

Volume 39-266 (For Immediate Release)
For more information: 573-751-1010

JEFFERSON CITY, MO, JULY 29, 2011 – A malfunction in a wastewater pumping station resulted in the release Thursday of an estimated 300,000 gallons of wastewater to a dry stream in Republic, according to the Missouri Department of Natural Resources.

Republic city officials notified the department Thursday morning that a seal in a pump at the Shuyler Creek Lift Station had failed, resulting in the pump shorting out and tripping the main breaker at the station. Without power to the pumps, the wastewater overflowed to the nearby stream.

City staff contained the spill to a 300-foot stretch of the previously dry creek. After bringing the station back into service, crews pumped the wastewater back into the system and began cleaning the area, including flushing the creek with water and pumping that into the wastewater collection system as well.

The department dispatched investigators from its Southwest Regional Office in Springfield to the site of the release to determine the extent of the release and gauge any environmental damage. Regional office staff will use the investigator’s findings plus the city’s incident report to determine what enforcement action will be taken in the case.

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.

To report an environmental emergency, including after-hour sewage overflows, please contact the DNR spill line at 573-634-2436. To report sewage overflows during regular business hours, contact the nearest regional office. A list of regional offices, their contact information and service areas is available online: