Oct 11, 2006

Sewage Spill Caused by Improper Excavation

A sewage spill in Cary, N.C., has been attributed to errors made by construction workers who were working on expanding the Swift Creek pump station.

The June spill led to millions of gallons of untreated waste ending up in downstream waters, and closed Lake Benson and Lake Wheeler for days.

According to the News Observer, a report stated that the workers didn't provide enough support for an underground pipe stub held in place partially by dirt. The pipe came loose on June 23, sending an estimated 8 million gallons of untreated sewage into Swift Creek.

The lakes were unavailable to boaters for more than a week.

Town manager Bill Coleman hired engineers from the firm of Brown and Caldwell to perform an investigation. They concluded that those involved could have done more to prevent the spill.

For example, the report states that construction workers did not install movement monitors around the pipe stub, which was required by the contract.

Town leaders have reported that they now have enough piping to create a system bypass if necessary.