7/28 deluge causes sewer spill

By William Holloman

Staff Writer

A sewage spill resulted from heavy rainfall last week, and approximately 45,000 gallons of raw sewage spilled into the nearby headwaters of the Northeast/Cape Fear River.

The sanitary sewer overflow was inside the town’s wastewater treatment plant. The spill happened on Monday of last week around 8 p.m. and lasted about five hours, town officials said.

Town Manager Charles Brown said 3.75 inches of rain fell on the town during a 12-hour period. The heavy rainfall also caused flooding at usual areas around town, including the South Center Street area and along College Street, between Center and Church Streets.

Town officials say they have no reports of any flood damage.

Nearly half of the total rainfall amount for Mount Olive last month fell during the July 28 downpour.

State law requires municipalities to release information to the public within 24 hours when a sanitary sewer overflow of 1,000 gallons or more reaches surface waters. It also requires a public notice and press release if the discharge is more than 15,000 gallons. The North Carolina Division of Water Quality Control was also notified about the spill.

The town is currently working to resolve issues with inflow and infiltration into the sewer collections system, as well as addressing land application issues at the wastewater treatment plant itself.

On the issue of street flooding, the town manager did say it was in the usual areas and during such torrential rainfall in such a short period of time, the town’s drainage simply cannot handle that much water. He said it did allow officials to pinpoint trouble spots and do what could be done to help ease the street flooding.

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