OWASA responds to wastewater overflow on Aug. 29th in Carrboro

OWASA responded Thursday afternoon to a spill of untreated wastewater near the intersection of West Carr Street and South Greensboro Street in Carrboro.

The overflow, which resulted from blockage of a sewer by an accumulation of grease, was reported at about 4:15 PM and OWASA stopped it at about 5:45 PM. OWASA estimates that the overflow totaled about 2,150 gallons.

The spill resulted in wastewater entering a storm drain and ditch. In responding to the overflow, OWASA flushed the area of the spill with water, recovered the water in tanker trucks and returned the water to the sewer system.

OWASA staff provided information regarding the spill Tuesday to the NC Division of Water Quality, which is reviewing 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.

Contact for more information:

Randy Horton, Assistant Manager of Water Distribution and Wastewater Collection Systems, 919-537-4280 or rhorton@owasa.org

Background information:

OWASA’s work to prevent wastewater overflows includes periodically cleaning sewers to remove blockages; requiring restaurants to have grease traps to help keep fat, oil and grease out of the sewer system; and informing residential customers about proper disposal of fat and grease along with garbage taken to a landfill. Used cooking oil should be recycled at Orange County’s Household Hazardous Waste Program on Eubanks Road on the north side of Chapel Hill.

When fat, oil and grease get into a sewer, they may accumulate at various points in sewers and block the flow of wastewater. When wastewater flow is blocked, it will typically overflow at a manhole upstream of the blockage.

Additional information about what OWASA does to prevent overflows and what citizens can do to help prevent overflows is available in OWASA’s annual report on the wastewater system at www.owasa.org under What We do and Wastewater Management.

In the year from July 2012 through June 2013, there were seven overflows from the OWASA sewer system and they totaled an estimated 15,085 gallons, or a fraction of one per cent of the total of 2.9 billion gallons received in the sewer system.