500,000 gallons of sewage spills


A water advisory remains in effect for the Industrial Seaway and Bernard Bayou in Gulfport after raw sewage seeped into those waterways. 

The flow was contained. However, crews spent Tuesday afternoon trying to replace the damaged pipe. They had been hard at work, pumping and transporting the waste since they found out about the broken line more than 24-hours ago.

About 500,000 gallons of raw sewage gushed from a 24-inch sewer line. Gulfport public works crews scrambled to dig a hole to reach the damaged pipe.

“The pipe is about seven feet below ground. Once we were able to look at it last night, we were able to determine that the pipe has a crack along the top of it,” said Gulfport Public Works Director Wayne Miller.

Miller said the repairs were completed around 1 a.m. Wednesday.

The problem started around 5:00 p.m. Monday. The city received reports of two broken force mains. The leak at Crossroads Parkway was fixed rather quickly. But the one on Glascock Drive in the Bernard Bayou Industrial District was much bigger.

“We’ve been running four pumper trucks continuously since around 9:00 last night, and they’re taking the sewer flow from here and taking it straight over to the treatment plant,” said Miller.

Some of the sewage flowed into nearby ditches and drains, which lead to Bernard Bayou and the Industrial Seaway. The discharge forced MDEQ to issue a water advisory.

“That’s very serious, but we’ve been able to contain a lot of it. It could have been worse,” said Miller.

Shortly after noon, two 40,000 gallon storage tanks arrived to hold the waste, so crews could start repairing the 20-foot section of ruptured pipe. Once the repairs were finished, the cleanup began. Crews planned to suck up all the water along the ditches in the area, then use chlorine tablets to sanitize them.

“This is the biggest one I’ve been on, but it happens. There’s nothing we could have done to prevent it,” said Miller. “These guys haven’t left. They’re doing a great job doing what they can to get this cleaned up.”

Miller said no homes or businesses were impacted by the spill. However, MDEQ is advising people to avoid water contact and avoid eating seafood from nearby waters, which include the Industrial Seaway and Bernard Bayou from Highway 49 to the mouth of Big Lake. The advisory is in effect until further notice.

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