News Release 487

Broken sewer pipe results in 2,700-gallon wastewater release to Blue River tributary in Kansas City

Volume 38-487 (For Immediate Release)
Contact: Renee Bungart

JEFFERSON CITY, MO, AUG. 23, 2010 – A broken sewer pipe in Kansas City Sunday resulted in the release of an estimated 2,700 gallons of wastewater into an unnamed tributary of the Blue River, according to the Missouri Department of Natural Resources.

City officials reported to the department this morning that crews discovered a break in an eight-inch sewer main near 3805 E. 68th Terrace at approximately 5:30 p.m. Sunday. Before crews could stop the flow at approximately 10 p.m., an estimated 2,700 gallons of untreated wastewater entered an unnamed tributary to the Blue River.

City crews applied lime to the areas where the wastewater flowed overland before entering the tributary and posted signs warning people of the release. They are also taking samples of the water to determine the extent of environmental damage.

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, 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.

To report an environmental emergency, including after-hour sewage overflows, please contact the DNR spill line at 573-634-2436. To report sewage overflows during regular business hours, contact the nearest regional office. A list of regional offices, their contact information and service areas is available online: /regions/regions.htm.