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Millions of Gallons of Raw Sewage Spilled

Updated: Tuesday, April 30 2013, 09:13 PM EDT
Millions of gallons of raw sewage are flowing into the French Broad River from a sewer plant in Buncombe County.

Engineers say it started shortly after 8am this morning after an equipment failure.

Workers for a contractor were replacing a $100,000 pump at the plant when a gate blew up because of the pressure.

It hit a worker, injuring him, but we are told the injury is not life-threatening.

The gate failure diverted raw sewage coming into the plant into the French Broad.

Several manhole covers have blown off close to the plant because of the back-up and engineers are warning people to stay away from those sewer covers.

So far, they don't expect any of this to affect their customers and they say there's little danger of backup into people's homes.

A million gallons an hour are currently flowing into the river.

Stan Weed, Wastewater Plant Director, "it backs up in the system, so it wasn't immediate that much was going into the river.  Currently it is backed well up, and it's flowing at about near that rate.  Again, that is higher than our normal flow, because of the rain, a lot of it is diluted."

Engineers asked Woodfin Police to close a popular park used by kyakers.
Because of the pollution in the water, Ledges Park could stay closed for a while.

Engineers say there are no toxic chemicals in this spill, but of course, they warn anyone downstream from the plant between the plant and Marshall to avoid getting into the water today.

Engineers alerted the North Carolina Water Quality Division about the emergency.

They hope to have the repairs made and the spill stopped in the next two or three hours.    Millions of Gallons of Raw Sewage Spilled

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