News Release 199

Burst sewer line in Jefferson City results in wastewater overflow to Grays Creek tributary

Volume 38-199 (For Immediate Release)
Contact: Larry Archer

JEFFERSON CITY, MO., APRIL 5, 2010 – A ruptured sewer line in north Jefferson City this morning resulted in the release of 5,000 gallons of untreated wastewater into an unnamed tributary of Grays Creek, according to the Missouri Department of Natural Resources.

Jefferson City officials contacted the department shortly after noon today to report the ruptured line near Sue Drive and Rock Hill Road on the city’s north side. City officials estimated the loss of approximately 5,000 gallons of untreated sewage into a tributary of Grays Creek.

The release was discovered at 10:00 a.m. and city officials reported that it was stopped at approximately 10:30 a.m. The wastewater flow was estimated to have entered the unnamed tributary approximately one stream mile from Grays Creek.

The department dispatched an investigator from its Northeast Regional Office in Macon to the site to assess the extent of the environmental damage.

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 ruptured sewer lines, such as in this case, obstructions in sewer lines, mechanical failure, infiltration of rainwater and snow melt into aging systems or undersized systems that cannot compensate 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