Local News

Sewer Overflow At Cary Pump Station Closes Raleigh Lake

Posted June 25, 2006

— A sewage overflow in Cary shut down a popular Raleigh lake over the weekend as crews worked to fix the spill and test the lake for contamination.

Rain from Friday's thunderstorms caused a soil embankment to collapse at the Swift Creek Regional Pump Station on Holly Springs Road, officials said.

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    Crews worked Friday night and Saturday to stop the spill, which began at about 7:30 p.m. and released nearly 5 million gallons of untreated sewage into Swift Creek.

    To repair the pipe, crews had to shut down the pump station, at which point the sewage normally moving through the station began going into Swift Creek.

    Town spokeswoman Susan Moran said on Sunday that the problem was not yet fixed, but that crews had established a pumping-and-hauling operation on Saturday to help alleviate the situation.

    Once the valve is repaired, crews would able to restart the pump station, causing the ongoing spill to end.

    "We have been working around the clock to make this repair," said the Utilities Director Rob Bonne. "Fortunately, Swift Creek remains swollen from the recent heavy rains, which is helping to mitigate the spill's impacts."

    Authorities said no fish kill has been observed, but the city of Raleigh closed public access to Lake Wheeler, in which the creek drains, for fishing, canoeing, sailing and other water activities. Lake Benson in Garner was also shut down as a precaution.

    "Our main focus is the safety of our patrons," said Raleigh Parks and Recreation Supervisor Richard Costello. "We're making sure that there are no risks at all."

    The lake was expected to remain closed until water-testing was complete and pending the tests' results. Initial test results were expected back on Sunday, but park officials could not say on Saturday when they thought the lake would reopen. Lake Wheeler Park, however, is open to the public.

    Friday's spill was the latest in a series of sewage spills in Cary. From June 15 to June 16, nearly 800,000 gallons of lake water and untreated waste spilled into Crabtree Creek as a result of the Tropical Storm Alberto's remnants.

    On June 17, 2,700 gallons of untreated waste spilled into a tributary of Middle Creek as a result of debris blocking the sewer system.

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