1M gallons of untreated wastewater spills in Elizabeth City


ELIZABETH CITY, N.C. (WAVY) — Officials in Elizabeth City on Friday said 1 million gallons of untreated wastewater has spilled from the city’s sewage collection system.

City officials said the one million gallons spilled on Wednesday, Sept. 21, and entered the Charles Creek of the Pasquotank River.

Even though city officials say there’s no threat to residents, some people are saying they’re not going anywhere near the water.

“Me and my fiancee, he wanted to go fishing today and I was like no way, we are not going fishing, not in this water.  The water is already nasty and it’s nastier now,” said Crystal Walker, who lives in Elizabeth City.  “That’s a lot of sewage.  That’s a lot.”

The sewage water overflowed for about 24 hours.

Public Works Director Paul Fredette says the city’s wastewater treatment facility was over its capacity. It’s equipped to deal with 2.5 to 3 million gallons of water on a daily basis. But on September 21, it saw between 12 and 14 million gallons of water — that’s why people saw wastewater coming out of manholes on the streets and flowing into the creek.

“It went into the storm drain system and flowed across the road.  Wherever the rain was going, it went,” said Fredette.  “The volume of water in the Pasquotank River, one million gallons is very, very small and it was diluted by the rainwater.”

The state has classified this as a natural disaster because it was caused by the rain, and not by bad pipes.

Fredette said, “Nobody would’ve noticed this one except for, I’ll call it a trained eye. Somebody knowing there was a surcharge in a manhole.”

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