Flash Flood Directs Raw Sewage into Flint River

Aug. 22, 2019

Flash flooding leads to raw sewage overflow of primary settling tank

Flash flooding Aug. 17 overflowed Flint, Mich. primary settling tanks resulting in 2 million gal of raw sewage entering the Flint River. 

According to ABC12, the city and the Genesee County Health Department warned the community that sewage had leaked into the Flint River after it had overflowed the primary tanks and entered storm sewers.

Around 2 million gal of untreated sewage entered the Flint River, Aug. 18, according to MLive. This came only months after officials warned that wastewater infrastructure was quickly approaching a “critical point.”

Months ago, the Flint city council approved nearly $1 million in contracts to design upgrades for sewage and wastewater treatment infrastructure. According to MLive, this followed a warning from the public works director that the current system was at risk of “catastrophic failure."

“We’re going to get to a point where we can’t treat our wastewater and sewage anymore,” said Rob Bincsik, director of public works, according to MLive. “We won’t have to talk about drinking water anymore, because we’ll talk about nothing but the raw sewage that gets discharged into the Flint River.”

While the overflow has ceased, there still may be high bacterial levels in the water, health leaders said. City leaders warned residents to avoid contact with the river, according to ABC12

According to MLive, the plant includes 10 outdoor settling tanks that can hold millions of gallons of sewage. Tanks are used to remove the solid material from the wastewater, which then is moved to a clarifying tank for further treatment. Then is discharged into the river. Flint currently treats 50 million gal of wastewater daily, according to MLive.

According to MLive, Flint is seeking a $34 million state sewer revolving loan to fund improvements on the plant.

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