Local News

Oil spill blocked from harming Neuse River wastewater plant

Posted January 27, 2009 12:09 p.m. EST
Updated March 9, 2009 5:12 p.m. EDT

— 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.

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.