Storm causes three wastewater spills

More than million gallons discharged
Mar. 11, 2014 @ 09:13 AM

Friday's ice storm wreaked havoc on the city's water treatment system, leading to three sizable spills.

The City of Thomasville reported that power outages at the Northside and Pilot pump stations on March 7 led to hundreds of thousands of untreated wastewater spilling into Hank's Branch and Jimmy Creek, respectively.

Heavy rainfall from the storm caused another spill at the East Davidson Pump Station into South Hamby Creek.

“There is not a permanent backup generator for Northside and East Davidson,” City Manager Kelly Craver said. “We had one generator for those three pump stations to share. We put it at East Davidson, which has been the sore spot for spills recently. Unfortunately, we had further problems at the other two.”

According to a press release, an estimated 559,639 gallons of untreated wastewater on Friday and Saturday spilled from the Pilot Sanitary Sewage Pump Station into Jimmy Creek in the Yadkin Pee Dee River Basin following a ice storm-related power failure.

An estimated 493,848 gallons of untreated wastewater on Friday spilled from the Northside Sanitary Sewage Pump Station into Hanks Branch in the Yadkin/Pee Dee River Basin. The spill also was caused by a ice storm-related power failure.

In the event of a power failure, Craver said water flows into the wet wells in the pump station and the pumps don't kick on to start the gravity flow.

“More water is coming in and there is nothing to pump it out,” said Craver.

Another 78,904 gallons of untreated wastewater from the East Davidson Sanitary Sewage Pump Station on March 7 spilled into South Hamby Creek as a result of heavy rainfall from the storm.

Craver said permanent backup generators for Northside and East Davidson are included in the rehabilitation projects under way at both facilities.

“There will be permanent generators for each station once these projects are completed,” said Craver. “They are expected to be completed in the summer.”

The Division of Water Quality was notified of all three spills and is reviewing the matter. House Bill 1160, enacted by the General Assembly in 1999, requires municipalities, animal operations, industries and others who operate waste handling systems issue news releases when a waste spill of 1,000 gallons or more reaches surface waters.


Staff Writer Eliot Duke can be reached at 888-3578, or