By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
County probes cause, extent of sewage spill
01.20 sewage spill map
Sewage spill map - photo by Photo provided

Effingham County officials are trying to figure out what caused a sewage spill Thursday afternoon and determine how much got out.

A nearby resident of the Park West subdivision called county officials Thursday around 4 p.m. to tell them raw sewage was gushing out of a line, and they discovered that sewage was coming out of the force main there.

“We don’t know how long it had been releasing,” county engineer Steve Liotta said.

The resident who called about the sewage spill told the county, “I see raw sewage gushing into the air,” Liotta said.

A contractor repaired the ruptured force main, working for nearly six hours to fix it. The sewage line is co-located with a fiber optic cable, meaning the repair crew had to be careful not to damage the sensitive line.

Liotta was not sure how much sewage got out, but the county has to provide the state Environmental Protection Division with an estimate. They’re also trying to determine how it happened.

“We don’t know what caused it,” Liotta said.

The county shut down the nearby lift station as a result. Shutting down the lift station stopped the release of sewage.

Crews also applied lime to the affected upland area.

The sewage spill flowed toward the Black Creek, south of the subdivision, and did not come near the homes.

Liotta said they did not know if sewage got into the Black Creek itself, but they are testing the water upstream and downstream from possible entry points.

“We should have (those results) in a couple of days,” Liotta said.

Water and sewer service was not affected by the leak, according to Liotta. The nearby lift station was not full, and a crew pumped the sewage out of it and into a truck to be taken to the Hodgeville Road lift station.

The force main that failed was put in around 2004 or 2005, Liotta said.