VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — Work to repair a broken sewer main in a Virginia Beach neighborhood is expected to take all week.
The broken pipe near the intersection of Laskin Road and Red Robin Road was first reported around 11:30 p.m. Saturday, as Hurricane Matthew dumped rain and caused extensive flooding in the area.
The pipe was underwater at the time, so crews couldn’t determine right away what caused the leak, or how much sewage was flowing into the marsh that leads to Linkhorn Bay. An HRSD official estimates it could be as much as two million gallons of sewage that leaked. Officials say the sewage was “highly diluted with rainwater and tidal flows.”
“I’m sure [our testing team] is gonna be out here monitoring and working with Virginia Department of Health to determine what kind of impact this spill had on the bay,” Sam McAdoo from HRSD said.
Once flood waters receded, HRSD staff and Virginia Beach officials went to the site and re-routed a portion of the wastewater flow to other pipelines in an effort to limit the spill. A pump and haul operation was also started to get rid of sewage from the broken pipe, while keeping service going for customers.
Nancy Munnikhysen with The Hampton Roads Sanitation District (HRSD) told 10 On Your Side crews will have to replace 60 feet of the sewer force main.
“We’ve got some specialized pieces that were gonna have to make,” McAdoo said. “Right now the hope, the goal is to be tied in by this weekend.”
The right eastbound lane of Laskin Road has been closed at the repair site.
Munnikhysen told WAVY.com repair work had to come to a temporary hault while the City of Virginia Beach worked on a water pipeline that appeared at risk of failure.
Swimmers are advised to stay away from the Linkhorn Bay at this time.
Officials say HRSD’s Water Quality scientists will be sampling Linkhorn Bay Tuesday, and collecting bacteria data.
HRSD’s Virginia Initiative Plant in Norfolk was also challenged by Hurricane Matthew.
The plant, which receives an average of 33 million gallons of flow per day, was treating about 90 million gallons per day on Saturday and Sunday. To limit overflows to manholes in local neighborhoods, some of the flows were diverted to another outfall for disinfection before they were discharged to the Elizabeth River.