Sewer spill affects Broad River

Sewer spill affects Broad River

Source: The State, Columbia, SC, December 13, 2011
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More than 5,000 gallons of sewage have spilled from a prison on Broad River Road, prompting state health officials to warn against fishing or kayaking in the area northwest of downtown Columbia.

Two spills — one Sunday morning and another this morning — leaked sewage into the river and likely sent bacteria levels soaring, said Adam Myrick, a spokesman for the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control.

Myrick said the leaks have been stopped as repairs are being made. The section of the river is near the Broad River Correctional Institute in the area of 4460 Broad River Road. It is just upstream from the Interstate 26 bridge.

“Higher than normal bacteria levels can be expected,” Myrick said. “Avoid that area if you can.”

He could not estimate how long contamination would remain a threat to the river before it clears up. An exact amount of the sewage that spilled also was pending. More than 5,000 gallons is notable but is small when compared to a spill of more than 1 million gallons earlier this year along Bluff Road.

The S.C. Department of Corrections, which runs the prison, said the overflow began about 11 a.m. Sunday as a result of sewer pump failure. Myrick said the station had another problem this morning. The pump station is now operational, the Corrections Department said in a news release.

Problems have occurred before in the area of the prison and other nearby correctional facilities. Area utilities officials have in the past blamed prisoners for clogging sewer lines by flushing jumpsuits, plastic, shampoo bottles, underwear and bras down prison toilets. It was not known today whether that had anything to do with the most recent leaks.

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