News Release 290

Clogged sewer line in Springfield results in wastewater release

Volume 38-290 (For Immediate Release)
Contact: Larry Archer

JEFFERSON CITY, MO, MAY 12, 2010 – A clogged sewer line resulted in the release of an estimated 3,000-4,000 gallons of wastewater into a Springfield creek Tuesday, according to the Missouri Department of Natural Resources.

City officials late this morning reported to the department that a clogged sewer line in the 1200 block of West Sunset Street caused the sewage to back up and escape from a manhole and into a ditch that leads to South Creek.

The overflow, which is believed to have begun Monday, was reported to the city at 5 p.m. Tuesday and was stopped by 5:30 p.m. Crews then dammed the creek downstream of the release, vacuumed out the sewage and washed the creek bottom.

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 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