Local News

Setbacks Delay Repair Of Broken Sewage Pipe

Posted June 28, 2006 7:20 a.m. EDT

— Workers faced more setbacks Tuesday in their attempts to repair a pipe that leaked millions of gallons of raw sewage into Cary's Swift Creek.

The temporary fix was supposed to be in place by 6 p.m. Tuesday, but crews said it was taking longer than expected to install the temporary pipeline near the Swift Creek Regional Pump Station. Rain from earlier in the day and another broken sewer line also slowed their efforts.

Nearly 20 trucks worked nonstop since Friday, removing sewage from system manholes upstream of the pump station, bypassing the pipe break, and then hauling it back into the sanitary sewer system for treatment. It was estimated to cost the town about $2,500 an hour for the operation.

Torrential rain on Friday night caused a soil embankment to collapse near the pump station and dislodged a pipe critical to the pump station's operations. Anywhere from 3 million to 5 million gallons of raw sewage flowed into the creek and forced county officials to shut down Lake Wheeler and Lake Benson.

Raleigh crews have been testing the lakes several times a day in several spots, but said Tuesday that bacteria levels are still too high for the lakes to reopen. So far, though, no fish kills have been reported as a result of the spill.

Cary officials also had to close a portion of Holly Springs Road to maximize crews' pump-and-haul efforts, causing traffic headaches to motorists in the area. Once the temporary fix is complete, officials said it would be another 12 hours before the road is reopened because crews must test the makeshift system.

Utility officials said it would be at least another week before a permanent fix was in place.