Saturday, February 4, 2023

H2GO misses state public reporting requirement with Lanvale sewer spill

It appears H2GO broke state law by failing to report a sewer spill to the public on time. The utility cites a failure with its in-house communications as a reason behind the delay.

Sturgeon Creek as seen from Navassa Road in Leland. The town has been acquiring property near the southern bank of Sturgeon Creek since 2016 for its planned Sturgeon Creek Park. (Port City Daily photo/Johanna Ferebee)
Sturgeon Creek as seen from Navassa Road in Leland. H2GO recently reported 1,800 gallons of untreated wastewater reached a tributary of Sturgeon Creek. (Port City Daily photo/Johanna Ferebee)

BRUNSWICK COUNTY — Brunswick Regional Water and Sewer H2GO shared a notification four days past state reporting requirements that the utility discharged approximately 1,800 gallons of untreated wastewater on Lanvale Road.

The sanitary district announced the spill to the public Tuesday — five days after the spill occurred and four days after state law requires wastewater operators notify the public.

Related: Why is Leland looking to give its utilities — a $66 million value — to H2GO?

In North Carolina, wastewater operators are required under state law to notify the public of reportable spills within 24-hours after determining discharge reached public surface waters. Reportable spills, as defined by General Statute 143-215.1C., include any discharge events in which 1,000 gallons or more of untreated wastewaters reach public surface water.

H2GO’s sanitary sewer overflow occurred at a receiving manhole to pump station #12 on Lanvale Road on Aug. 15. Approximately 1,800 untreated gallons of wastewater flowed into an unnamed tributary that feeds into Sturgeon Creek, according to H2GO’s Aug. 20 public release.

In its release, the utility affirmed it did inform the Department of Environmental Quality’s Division of Water Quality about the spill on Aug. 16. According to state law, wastewater operators are required to inform the state agency about reportable spills “as soon as practicable, but no later than 24 hours” after it is determined wastewater reached public surface waters.

Asked for the reason behind the public reporting delay, Tyler Wittkofsky, H2GO’s spokesperson, said, “There was a failure with our in house communications.”


Send tips and comments to Johanna Ferebee at johanna@localvoicemedia.com

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