News Release 457

DNR investigates sewer overflow in Fayette

Volume 37-457 (For Immediate Release)
Contact: Renee Bungart

JEFFERSON CITY, MO., DEC. 1, 2009 -- The Missouri Department of Natural Resources is investigating a sewer overflow in Fayette that resulted in the release of an estimated 54,000 gallons of untreated wastewater into Bonne Femme Creek Nov. 19.

City officials reported to DNR Nov. 20 that a grease blockage in a sewer line caused untreated wastewater to back up out of a manhole in the 100 block of Reynolds Street. The overflow was discovered at 8 a.m. on Nov. 19 and continued until approximately 2 p.m. that day. City crews cleaned the sewer line and flushed the area of the overflow.

Although the wastewater reached Bonne Femme Creek, city officials reported no apparent fish kill. An investigator from the department''s Northeast Regional Office in Macon was dispatched to the scene. A report of his findings will be provided to the city.

The release of untreated sewage from sewer systems, known as sanitary sewer overflows, or SSOs, are a significant threat to public health and the environment. SSOs occur for several reasons. As sewer systems age they develop openings where excessive rainfall or snowmelt can enter and cause the water and sewage to exceed the sewer''s capacity. Sewer lines can also become blocked, causing sewage to backup and overflow the system. Such overflows can contaminate lakes and streams, causing serious water quality problems.

In order to protect public health and the environment, the department requires communities to take appropriate action to eliminate their SSO issues. To do this, communities should develop a system to track information about overflows, 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 upgrades the system to reduce SSOs.

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