News Release 120

Construction mishap results in sewage bypass in Thayer

Volume 38-120 (For Immediate Release)
Contact: Larry Archer

JEFFERSON CITY, MO, MARCH 16, 2010 – A construction accident resulted in the release of an unspecified amount of untreated sewage into a tributary of the Warm Fork of Spring River Tuesday.

City of Thayer officials notified the Department of Natural Resources about 2 p.m. Tuesday that a piece of heavy equipment operating on the grounds of the city’s wastewater treatment plant had broken a 12-inch sewer main and effluent had flowed into a nearby dry watercourse. It is believed the effluent did make it into the Warm Fork of Spring River.

The department immediately dispatched field staff from its Southeast Regional Office in Poplar Bluff to the site to observe cleanup efforts and document water quality.

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's 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