News Release 320

Boonville lift station failure results in release of up to 400,000 gallons of wastewater to stream

Volume 39-320 (For Immediate Release)
For more information: 573-751-1010

JEFFERSON CITY, MO, SEPT. 22, 2011 – The Department of Natural Resources is overseeing the cleanup from the estimated release of 400,000 gallons of wastewater into a Boonville stream.

Boonville city officials discovered the release of wastewater from manholes near Lift Station #2, located on Water Street, east of the intersection of Water and Bell streets, Wednesday afternoon. City officials noticed the flow to the wastewater treatment plant was significantly lower than normal. Based on the amount of wastewater received at the treatment plant during that time, officials believe that an estimated 400,000 gallons flowed from the lift station into Rames Branch. The bypass was believed to be caused by an electrical system failure at the lift station.

The department dispatched an investigator to the site of the release to determine the extent of the release and gauge any environmental damage. In addition to sampling the water, the investigator discovered a fish kill in Rames Branch approximately 250 yards from the Missouri River. The bypass appeared to affect Rames Branch from the Missouri River back to Morgan Street, south of Water Street. The Missouri Department of Conservation has been called in to document the extent of the fish kill.

The Department of Natural Resources will use the investigator’s findings plus the city’s incident report to determine what enforcement action will be taken in the case.

City crews have begun a cleanup by placing lime in the ground in the affected areas around manholes that were believed to have overflowed because of the lift station failure. The city posted warning signs and planned to post more as cleanup continued. It was also recommended that the creek be pumped in the affected area to remove the wastewater. The department is sending an investigator to the site this afternoon to follow up on cleanup.

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, obstructions in sewer lines, infiltration of rainwater and snow melt into aging systems, or undersized systems that cannot compensate for sudden increases in wastewater.

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: