News Release 103

Grease clog in sewer line results in Creve Coeur wastewater release

Volume 38-103 (For Immediate Release)
Contact: Renee Bungart

JEFFERSON CITY, MO., MARCH 5, 2010 -- A grease clog in a sewer line resulted in the release of untreated sewage that contaminated nearly two miles of a Creve Coeur creek on Thursday, the Missouri Department of Natural Resources announced today.

Department staff today are overseeing cleanup of Ben Bush Creek, which was contaminated by sewage when a grease clog resulted in an overflow from two manholes located between 96 Rue De La Banque and 12303 Charter Oak Parkway in Creve Coeur.

An official with the Metropolitan Sewer District notified the department of the release this morning, and field staff from the department's St. Louis Regional Office were immediately dispatched to the site to begin oversight of the cleanup and to begin determining the extent of the environmental damage caused by the overflow. An estimate of the amount of sewage that was lost to the creek was not immediately available.

The creek is gray with pockets of sludge throughout it. Sewer district staff have begun cleaning out the farthest contaminated portion of the creek, located off Shadycreek Lane near Parkway North High School, with the intention of working their way back toward the source.

The sanitary sewer overflow in Creve Coeur was one of two reported this morning by the sewer district. A second, smaller, release occurred Thursday near 5 Forest Club Dr, Clarkson Valley. In that release, approximately 300 ft of Shutwell Creek was contaminated. Cleanup of this release was completed last night at 6:30 p.m..

The department considers discharges of wastewater from sanitary sewer collection systems to be threats to public health and the environment. Such discharges can contaminate lakes and streams, causing serious water quality problems.

Sanitary sewer overflows can be caused by obstructions in sewer lines, such as in this case, mechanical failure, infiltration of rainwater and snow melt into aging systems or undersized systems that cannot compensation 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.

For more information on sanitary sewer overflows or other water quality issues, contact the Department of Natural Resources' Water Protection Program at 573-751-1300 or 800-361-4827 or visit the department website at

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