More sewer spills in Thomasville
1:00 pm
Fri October 2, 2009

More sewer spills in Thomasville

The state of North Carolina has fined the city of Thomasville $35,000 for allowing 16 million gallons of sewage to spill into High Rock Lake this summer. More sewer spills by the city have since come to light - including one this week. WFAE's Julie Rose reports:

The City of Thomasville has been under pressure since it announced on September 8th that a broken manhole had been allowed to gush 16 million gallons of raw sewage into Hamby Creek over a three-week period. The city has since reported three more spills.

According to the Division of Water Quality, a vandal damaged a pipe that leaked 11,500 gallons of sewage on September 10th. Then on the 15th, rocks in a sewer line caused 50 gallons to escape. And on Wednesday of this week, a culvert collapsed and 1,000 gallons of the muck seeped out. This kind of spill is actually common. DWQ regional supervisor Steve Tedder says he gets reports of between 20 and 40 spills a month, across the 15 counties he oversees.

"It'll run from 100 gallons up to maybe several thousand," says Tedder. "It's going to be the size of the line, where it occurred, how far down the line, and how long it takes to get the repair made, which is normally pretty quick."

Tedder says Thomasville managed to fix the three recent leaks within 24 hours. The EPA is investigating why the city didn't stop the earlier 16 million gallon spill faster. Thomasville's City Manager today announced he has hired an engineering firm, an environmental consultant and a leading law firm to investigate the spill and recommend improvements to the city's aging sewer system.

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