Routine Upgrade Causes Maryland Sewage Spill

Aug. 28, 2006

A routine upgrade at the Northside Pump Station in Salisbury, Md., caused 43,000 gallons of untreated sewage to leak into the nearby Wicomico River.

Signs were posted by the river warning residents to avoid recreation activities in the water until September 7, or until tests show that it is safe.

John Jacobs, director of the city Public Works Department, told The Daily Times that testing will continue over the next few weeks in order to monitor bacteria levels in the river.

Mayor Barrie Parsons Tilghman said that the leak was caused while city workers were attempting to upgrade a bypass line.

During the maintenance on the 50-year-old plant, a coupling broke, which caused pressure that made the pipe burst. The untreated water spilled onto the street and into the river.

Straw bales were placed in the street to absorb waste and block the storm water inlets. The police department did what they could to control the leak. The sewage was cleaned with vacuum trucks and street sweepers.

Jacobs reported that the spill had been contained.

Alan Girard of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation told The Daily Times that the plant needs to be upgraded and the city is moving in that direction.

The Quail Creek Water Treatment plant is the only one in the county that uses carbon filtration.

Source: The Daily Times