Oct 19, 2006

Construction Causes Sewage-Tainted Storm Water to Overflow in Georgia

Construction workers at a Gainesville, Ga., medical center caused approximately 300,000 gallons of sewage-tainted storm water to overflow near Limestone Creek.

Steve Payne, water treatment manager for Gainesville Public Utilities, told The Gainesville Times the problem originated in a location where the hospital had demolished old buildings to make way for a new patient tower.

Payne explained that workers did not plug an abandoned sewer line before leaving the work site, and continuous rain washed the waste downhill into a sewage collection line. The wastewater then overflowed a manhole near Limestone Creek.

The spilled sewage was slightly diluted by the high volume of rainwater. Gainesville has a “no tolerance” policy for wastewater spills, and therefore the Georgia Environmental Protection Division was notified and warning signs were posted at the site.

Payne stated that Gainesville must accept responsibility for the spill as the city owns the sewer lines.

At this time the overflow problem as been fixed and the incident is under investigation.