Saturday, December 9, 2023

More than 40,000 gallons of sewage discharged into Cape Fear tributary Barnards Creek

More than 40,000 gallons of sewage reached Barnards Creek yesterday (Port City Daily/File)

WILMINGTON — Thousands of gallons of sewage spilled into Barnards Creek after a Duke Energy contractor installing a utility pole struck and broke a sewage force main.

The Cape Fear Public Utility Authority (CFPUA) was first notified of the incident around 2 p.m. on Monday and managed to divert the overflow into another drain by 5:30 p.m with a temporary bypass.

“CFPUA staff estimate 43,382 gallons of untreated wastewater were discharged into Barnards Creek, a tributary of the Cape Fear River. After the SSO was reported, CFPUA turned off all three pump stations that use the force main and performed pump-and-haul operations. This response significantly reduced the volume of wastewater that was released,” according to a CFPUA press release.

The N.C. Department of Environmental Quality has been alerted in accordance with state law.

“Cape Fear Public Utility Authority crews plan to install a temporary wastewater bypass near the Barnards Creek Pump Station while permanent repairs are made to a broken sewer main, according to the release.

“Construction on a temporary above-ground bypass for the broken main will begin this week. Piping for the bypass will run across the bridge over Barnards Creek on the northbound shoulder, requiring temporary closure of the bicycle lane in that area. Signage will be deployed to alert drivers,” the release concludes.

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