Cleanup underway after sewage leaks into Smyrna creek

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SMYRNA, Tenn. (WKRN) – Cleanup is underway after sewage leaked into a Smyrna creek over the weekend when two main sewer lines broke.

Officials told News 2 there is no threat to the public. The original cause was a five by one inch rupture in a sewer line.

“We do not know what caused the break. It was simply a rupture in the pipe,” said Smyrna Director of Utilities, Mike Strange. “This is a 12 inch ductile force main, sewer force main, probably installed in the early ’80’s, so you’re looking at 40 something years old.”

He continued, “Minimum time on this type ductile is probably 50 years or so. You see them all the way up to 75 [and] 100 years.”

Not only did the pipe rupture, there was sewage leaking from another pipe underneath Sam Ridley Parkway that had to be repaired, too.

When the pump station was shut down to make the repairs, it caused several manholes to overflow near Volunteer Park, spewing solid waste into Stewart Creek.

“The manholes started backing up, coming to that lift station, that’s where the overflow happened and some got into the creek, but they contained it,” Strange said.  “I believe Premier has it all removed and have everything they need to do.  Here, it was very, very minimum if any at all.”

HAZMAT crews with Premier Protective Services began removing contaminated soil where waste water and solids leaked near the playground at Volunteer Park.

They also removed booms from the creek and replaced them with fresh ones to trap any additional solid waste.

“There is no danger to the residents of Smyrna,” the utilities director said.  “Everything is contained, mitigated.”

HAZMAT crews told News 2 they were able to vacuum 257,000 gallons of sewage from those leaking manholes and transport it to the Waste Water Treatment Plant.

They had seven trucks running at a time.

HAZMAT crews will put a boat in the creek Tuesday and gather water samples which will be sent to a lab for testing.

Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC) responded to the site and water treatment plant.

The Health Department and Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency were on scene.

Wildlife agents said there appears to be no impact to aquatic life.

Smyrna town officials can’t give an exact number of the amount of waste that leaked into the creek or how it compares to other large sewage spills in the state.

“I don’t know the final numbers yet and I don’t know what the largest spill numbers are, so I’m not sure about that,” Strange said.  “This is a pretty good leak for us, a major leak.”

Even though Smyrna town officials said this was a major sewage leak, it’s not the largest for the state.

TDEC officials told News 2 in 2016, 350 million gallons of sewage contaminated McKellar Lake and Cypress Creek near Memphis.

That’s the largest sewage spill in Tennessee since the Clean Water Act was established in 1972.

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