Monday, September 26, 2022

Tests report ‘excellent quality’ for Surf City water, following wastewater leak

A water tower on Surf City’s mainland, just south of JH Batts Road. Town officials are currently trying to obtain a release from the county’s water and sewer district, pointing to supply issues over the summer. (Port City Daily photo/Mark Darrough)

SURF CITY — Following a sewage spill late last month, Surf City’s waterways received a clean bill of health Friday.

Environmental Chemists Inc. tested the Intracoastal Water that was potentially contaminated from the spill. The water came back in “excellent quality,” showing it had one-tenth of the bacteria content typically seen in normal water samples.

Approximately 10,000 gallons of wastewater leaked on July 31 following a lightning surge, kicking the town’s treatment system offline. A manhole at the intersection of Highway 50 and Aldrich Lane was discovered to be spilling sewage, which was immediately addressed by town crews, according to a press release.

Staff dammed up all ditches and water conveyances while also diverting water back to be treated. After all questionable water was returned to the system, staff placed lime in all the ditches to further treat those areas.

“The Utility Department plans for continued operations in spite of every conceivable complication,” town utilities director David Price said in the release. “Unfortunately, nature still finds a way interfere with operations. In this unpredictable situation, the readiness and dedication of Surf City staff mitigated all severe ecological damage.”

The infrastructure causing the discharge has since been repaired and placed back into service with an enhanced notification to prevent further leaks.

Out of an abundance of caution, the North Carolina Department of Enivronmental Quality closed the waterway for harvesting oyster and shellfish, which will remain in effect for a minimum of 21 days. A precautionary swimming advisory was also in effect but raised Aug. 5.

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