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Durham Officials Coping with Sewage Spill

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Nearly 1 million gallons of raw sewage have leaked
DURHAM — A million gallon raw rewage spill Sunday morning at the Triangle Wastewater Treatment Plant near Jordan Lake Sunday morning will force thetown of Cary to increase the amount of chlorine in its water.

There isn't a serious threat to the Triangle's drinking water, and the goal is to keep that spill from making its way to the major supplier ofthe Triangle's drinking water.

Nearly one million gallons of raw sewage seeped through area tributariesin Durham. Four pumps at the Triangle Wastewater Treatment Plant insouthern Durham County flooded Sunday morning, contaminating Burden'sCreek, which flows into Northeast Creek, and eventually into Jordan Lake.

David Thompson, Durham county manager, said Sunday night a valve at theplant's influent pump station malfunctioned and caused sewage to overflowrather than pump the quarter mile to the plant, which is at N.C. 55 andT.W. Alexander Drive.

The sewage plant serves primarily Research Triangle Park and about 5,000residents near the park.

Thompson said an alarm sounded at 9 a.m. Sunday signaling that one pumphad failed. A team of engineers responded to the alarm to fix the pump,but by 11 a.m. the plant had shut down completely, he said.

"The biggest problem is environmental," Thompson said. "We notified thestate emergency management team and the state water quality division, andthey will determine what happens from here."

Thompson said water wells and septic systems were not affected, nor wasdrinking water immediately threatened.

The Division of Water Quality has kept busy this year. Four hundred sewage spills have been reported in the last seven months. A treatmentplant in Greensboro was responsible for almost a fourth of those spills. The Division of Water Quality says the largest spill so far was five million gallons.

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