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1,000-gallon sewage spill contained in Fort Mill

Water testing continues after a wastewater spill in Fort Mill, where more than 1,000 gallons poured into a tributary.

“It was a small sewage spill,” said Ben Wright, town sewer maintenance supervisor.

“It was more than 1,000 gallons. It did reach a small tributary of Dye Creek. We’re following (state health department) protocol and sampling.”

The spill occurred in a wooded ravine near the business park on River Crossing Drive near the intersection of Interstate 77 and Sutton Road. Wright and staff responded to calls from the business park Monday morning and had the spill stopped by the afternoon.

Staff returned Tuesday to sample water and will continue until tests show acceptable contaminant levels in the tributary. A crew also covered the area around the spill with lime, which appeared to control the odor.

The sewer line sits in a hard-to-reach area. Repair crews had to clear a path from the end of River Crossing to get to the site. Crews will re-establish the utility right-of-way to include the path, which largely runs beneath a power line easement.

Employees in the nearby business park said crews responded quickly, but there was concern the issue began prior to Monday. Some employees said they heard running water daily, dating back at least two years, and assumed there was a rushing stream or waterfall in the ravine.

Wright said there wasn’t evidence the spill is part of a larger, recurring issue.

“Judging from what I saw down there, it hadn’t been going on long,” he said.

The size of the spill and its reaching a body of water prompted automatic testing and reporting to the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control. According to that agency, the town had two prior wastewater spills, in November, but none in more than a year prior.

A 1,000-gallon spill happened on Nov. 2 after more than three inches of rain, when a pump station failed and a manhole overflowed at Williamson and Link streets. That spill wasn’t near a water body. A Nov. 16 spill was. That one released an estimated 500 gallons from a line between the Waterside pump station and a manhole. There, a 10-inch PVC pipe plug was lodged in the line, causing a backup.

The most recent spill, according to the town, prompted no public health concerns. According to DHEC information, provided from the town, the recent spill was caused by “roots, rags and debris causing blockage in the line.”

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