News Release 687

Pump failure results in Gilliam wastewater release

Volume 38-687 (For Immediate Release)
For more information: 573-751-1010 

JEFFERSON CITY, MO, DEC. 7, 2010 – Pump failures late last week lead to the release of an unknown amount of untreated wastewater from the collection system serving the Saline County town of Gilliam, according to the Missouri Department of Natural Resources.

Gilliam city officials notified the department Monday that pump failures had resulted in sewage being released from a lift station near Highway 240 into a roadside ditch that empties into Fish Creek. A resident of the area dammed the ditch to prevent the wastewater from reaching the creek.

The overflow from the lift station storage basin ended Tuesday after city crews began pumping wastewater from the basin and transporting it to the wastewater treatment facility in Slater. Wastewater from the collection system in Gilliam is treated at the Slater facility.

Staff from the department’s Northeast Regional Office in Macon are investigating the release, and will be reviewing the result of their on-scene investigation and city’s incident report to determine what enforcement action will be taken in the case.

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.