OWASA responded Wednesday morning to an overflow of an estimated 2,000 gallons of untreated wastewater from a sewer manhole near Albany Point in the Colony Lake neighborhood in Chapel Hill. The overflow occurred in the Booker Creek area of the Cape Fear River basin.

OWASA found the overflow at about 10 AM when a crew responded to a report of a water line leak. The overflow resulted from blockage of a sewer by grease, and spilled wastewater flowed into a pond near the manhole. The OWASA crew stopped the overflow at 10:40 AM.

OWASA disinfected the area near the spill and will do laboratory testing of water from the pond affected by the overflow.

OWASA encourages customers to properly dispose of fat, oil and grease (FOG), which causes about half of the overflows from OWASA's sanitary sewer system. Residents are encouraged to recycle used cooking oil at Orange County's Household Hazardous Waste Program at the landfill, 1514 Eubanks Road on the north side of Chapel Hill; and to dispose of routine amounts of fat and grease by putting it in a sealed container for collection with household refuse. Businesses such as restaurants which produce waste FOG should collect it in a grease trap and have the trap regularly cleaned by a company that recycles FOG.

OWASA reported the overflow to the NC Division of Water Quality, which is investigating the matter. The information above is provided in accord with OWASA policies and House Bill 1160, enacted by the General Assembly in July, 1999, which requires distribution of news releases when a wastewater spill of 1,000 gallons or more reaches surface waters.

For more information: Greg Feller, OWASA Public Affairs, 919-537-4267 or