Charlotte Water this weekend raised its estimate of how much raw sewage spilled from a broken pipe into a south Charlotte creek on Friday from 180,000 gallons to 200,000 gallons. The city says it took crews about 11 hours to stop the flow from a broken 21-inch pipe along Kings Branch, a tributary of Sugar Creek.
"Kings Branch [on] Friday was a channel of complete sewage," said Catawba Riverkeeper Sam Perkins.
He notes that the stream feeds into Sugar Creek, which joins with the Catawba River just downstream from the Riverwalk in Rock Hill.
Charlotte Water says it learned about the broken pipe at around 7:20 a.m. Friday. Crews contained the spill at around 6:20 p.m.
Jennifer Frost with Charlotte Water says crews had a hard time reaching the site of the broken sewage pipe. "One of the areas we went through was heavily vegetated, not only with trees and shrubs, but also with a huge bamboo stand," said Frost. She said crews had difficulty getting equipment down to the area near the stream bed.
Frost says Charlotte Water notified residents near the spill Friday afternoon, through notices hung on doors and posts on neighborhood social media sites. The City issued a press release on the incident early Friday evening.
Perkins, the Catawba Riverkeeper, says a better reporting system is needed to let the public know in a timely manner where swimming and other recreational activities on the river may be unsafe due to a sewage spill.