600,000 gallons of sewage overflow into Huron River

Tuesday, September 20, 2016 - 6:17pm

The city discovered Monday that a sewer overflow allowed an estimated 600,000 gallons of sewage to spill into the Huron River this weekend.

 

The overflow was traced back to a construction site on Geddes Avenue near Gallup Park. According to a press release, debris from the site led to a blockage in a sanitary sewer, which then caused the overflow. The overflow is estimated to have occurred sometime between 3 p.m. on Saturday and 7 a.m Monday, when it was discovered.

 

The blockage was removed immediately after its discovery, allowing the normal flow of sewage to return. However, some amount of sewage had already reached the river.

 

Geddes Pond stillwater paddles and Argo-Gallup canoe trips have been temporarily suspended by Gallup Park authorities until the water can be tested. The city has already informed the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality about the incident, according to the release.

 

There are no communities downstream from the site who use the Huron River as a source of drinking water.

 

Robert Kellar, communications specialist for the city of Ann Arbor, said the spill was relatively minor but the city cannot release more information to the public until it has submitted its report of the incident to City Council. Kellar said the report would likely be turned in Wednesday morning.

 

“The overflow was quite small, so there is not a significant impact,” he said. “But we are still taking tests out there.”

 

This is the third overflow incident to occur this year, with previous incidents at Bird Hills Nature Area, where an estimated 36,000 gallons spilt over the course of 60 hours, and at Malletts Creek, where 400,000 of sewage overflow was generated across a two-week span.

 

At the City Council meeting Monday night, City Administrator Howard Lazarus said the city will be putting forth greater effort going forward to prevent such incidents.

“It is always our intent to be protective of our natural environment,” he said. “When something like this occurs, we all feel that we have let the public down in protecting our natural resources, and we will be ever more diligent in making sure that, to the best of our abilities, it does not occur again.”