Wastewater overflowed from a sewer pump station in New Hanover County, North Carolina, on Sunday, August 3.
Cape Fear Public Utility Authority (CFPUA) said that its crews responded to and stopped a sanitary sewer overflow that occurred at approximately 9:49 a.m. at the Loader Pump Station near the Windy Hills subdivision in southern New Hanover County. The overflow was stopped by 3:58 p.m. on Sunday afternoon, but an estimated 14,800 gallons of wastewater reached a tributary of the Intracoastal Waterway.
The main cause of the overflow is thought to be torrential rain in the region. No evidence of system failures was found. However, to help determine if there were any other contributing factors CFPUA will also conduct a below-ground investigation using video cameras.
According to CFPUA, significant rainfall over the weekend meant that abnormally heavy flows were experienced at the pump station. The pumps remained operational but were simply unable to keep up with the amount of flow, resulting in the overflow.
The incident has been reported to the North Carolina Division of Water Quality and CFPUA Environmental Management employees have been monitoring water quality in the area.
The water and wastewater authority noted that at times of continued heavy rainfall, wastewater spilled can be significantly diluted in a short period of time. This can lessen the impact of the contamination.
Operations in the area have now returned to normal.