News Release 289

Equipment failure at Camdenton lift station results in wastewater release

Volume 38-289 (For Immediate Release)
Contact: Larry Archer

JEFFERSON CITY, MO, MAY 12, 2010 – A pump failure in a Camdenton wastewater collection system lift station resulted in the release of an estimated 1,350 gallons of sewage into an unnamed tributary to the Lake of the Ozarks this afternoon, according to the Missouri Department of Natural Resources.

City officials reported to the department early this afternoon that a pump failure, which began at approximately 11:30 a.m., in a lift station on Camden Avenue allowed the sewage to back up before overflowing into an unnamed tributary to the Lake of the Ozarks. The overflow continued approximately 45 minutes before the pump was returned to service.

Because of significant rainfall in the Camdenton area and the increased flow of water in the unnamed tributary at least some of the release is believed to have reached lake. Similarly, because of the ratio of recent rainfall to the size of the release, there is not expected to be any environmental damage.

The city has received approval for a complete renovation of the lift station, which should be completed in July.

Clean water regulations require the city to submit a report detailing the release to the department within five days. The department will base future enforcement action on the city’s report.

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

Sanitary sewer overflows can be caused by mechanical failure – such as in this case – obstructions in sewer lines, 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