Blockage causes sewer overflow


Staff Writer

Saturday, December 15, 2018

In the aftermath of another sewer overflow, city officials are asking Rocky Mount residents to guard against habits that cause pipe blockages.

A sanitary sewer overflow occurred Dec. 8 that resulted due to a blockage in the main sewer line. The spill was reported at 12:40 p.m. and cleared by 1:35 p.m. The spill dumped an estimated 550 gallons of wastewater that reached surface waters of Jump Run Branch, a tributary of Maple Creek, in the vicinity of Crosswinds Drive and upstream of Woodstock Road, said Jonathan Boone, the city's director of public works and water resources.

“While any sanitary sewer overflow is unacceptable, the quick response of the Water and Sewer Division helped to minimize the volume of wastewater that reached Jump Run Branch,” Boone said. “Once the blockage was cleared, crews flushed the impacted area with water, applied lime, stabilized the site with straw, and secured the area with caution tape.”

Lab testing was performed and the parameters tested at the site showed the water quality of the adjacent stream returned to normal after cessation of the spill, Boone said.

To help minimize the potential for sanitary sewer releases that result from such blockages, city water customers are encouraged to do the following:

■ Allow grease to cool and then collect and dispose of the material in a sealed container placed in the trash. Do not pour grease into sinks or toilets.

■ Install baskets or strainers in sink drains to capture food scraps and dispose of this material in the trash.

■ Minimize the use of wet wipes or flushable wipes as they do not dissolve as easily as toilet paper and can contribute to the formation of rag balls in the sewer system, which can lead to blockages.

Hurricanes and heavy rains have caused at least five other sewer overflows this year. For additional information regarding the spills or information regarding how to help prevent such blockages in the sanitary sewer system call 252-972-1290.