News Release 130

Broken sewer main results in overflow into Jackson creek

Volume 38-130 (For Immediate Release)
Contact: Larry Archer

JEFFERSON CITY, MO., MARCH 18, 2010 – A broken sewer main resulted in the release of untreated wastewater into Ramsey Branch in Jackson today, according to the Missouri Department of Natural Resources.

The department received a call this morning from a citizen who reported a sewer main had ruptured and an undetermined amount of sewage flowed into a wet-weather tributary of Ramsey Branch, which is located in Cape Girardeau County. The department contacted city public works officials, who, after their own investigation, confirmed a six-inch main serving Claus Park Village Subdivision on the city’s east side had ruptured.

 The department has dispatched field staff from its Southeast Regional Office in Poplar Bluff to investigate the release, including sampling Ramsey Branch for evidence of environmental impact. The department also ordered the city to remove the settled sludge from the tributary.

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