According to Kevin Davis of ESG Operations, the company that oversees the city’s wastewater treatment plant, and Mike Hudson, water and wastewater director for the city, the Feb. 8 contaminated water spill has not resulted in any noticeable environmental damage.
The spill, which happened on Sunday, Feb. 8 when a four-inch check valve malfunctioned, released an estimated 4.4 million gallons of contaminated water into an unnamed tributary of the Seventeen Mile River. At the time of its discharge, the water had been partially treated, which is one of the primary reasons why the environmental impact of the spill has been relatively minor. “We haven’t seen any fish kills or plant die-offs. There just haven’t been any major effects so far,” stated Hudson on Wednesday, March 3.
After the city realized what had happened, wastewater personnel reported the spill to the appropriate environmental agencies then tested the water throughout the affected area for five days. After the testing period ended, the city reported its findings. Per regulations, wastewater personnel will continue testing the area for the next six months. “It takes a long time to see what the results will be. That’s why testing will be an ongoing process,” stated Hudson.
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