Local News

Oil spill blocked from harming Neuse River wastewater plant

Posted January 27, 2009
Updated March 9, 2009

— The City of Raleigh Public Utilities Department has kept an upstream oil spill from damaging equipment at the Neuse River Wastewater Treatment Plant on Battlebridge Road.

Sky 5: Spill at Raleigh waste water plant Sky 5: Spill at Raleigh waste water plant

The oil leaked from a failed mechanical fitting on a steam-plant fuel pump on the North Carolina State University campus, the city said.

“At this time, there have been no ill effects on the operating capacity of the plant,” said Public Utilities Director Dale Crisp.

N.C. State began taking action Monday evening to prevent the spill from reaching Rocky Branch Creek.

Early Tuesday, however, operators began noticing that filter screens at the wastewater treatment plant were getting clogged, then discovered a tar-like substance. Public Utilities staff confirmed the oil leak was the cause of the clogged screens.

“We are now assessing the quality of the wastewater coming to the wastewater treatment plant to determine if the plant can be put back into service without damaging the treatment process,” Crisp said. “We do plan to put the plant back into service as quickly as possible. We also have crews working in the lines to remove any fuel oil that has accumulated to keep it from coming to the plant.”

Raleigh can store up to 32 million gallons of raw waste, and it was nearing that quantity Tuesday.

Efforts are under way to determine when the NRWWTP discharge can resume to the Neuse River.

Johnston County uses the Neuse River as a primary water source. Upon learning of the oil discharge to the city’s sewer system, the county topped off its reservoir to ensure maximum water quality.


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  • asdfg Jan 27, 2009

    NC State used to own a lot of the land surrounding the waste water treatment plant, along Auburn Knightdale Rd. and Battle Bridge rd. but I thought that it had all been bought by Wake County and the City of Raleigh.

  • just1comment Jan 27, 2009

    Y'all are asking the wrong questions! - the questions y'all should be asking are - How did the spill get from NC State all the way down to the Neuse River Plant undetected? What kind of damage did it do (to the sewage lines) along the way? Did it stay just in the sewage line or did any overflow into the storm water system (and then creeks)? and finally how are they going to get it out of the water before they return the water to the river?

  • asdfg Jan 27, 2009

    not everyone in the area gets their water from the water treatment plant. There are many in the area whose water comes from private or community wells. They already had to supply some nearby residents with public water due to nitrate contamination of the ground water in the area presumably from the spreading of the waste water treatments plants sludge on surrounding fields. Also, if the spill were to get to the river who knows where it would end up.

  • dpcallah Jan 27, 2009

    Because our drinking water doesn't come from the wastewater plant, it comes from the water treatment plant?

  • Journey985 Jan 27, 2009

    Wow!!!! way to report on ZEVERyYTHING that is going on right now...We would appreciate some more details please. How do you KNOW there is no danger to our drinking water?

  • MyNameIsMud Jan 27, 2009

    Well, that really stinks.