Wave Of Sewage Flows Toward Bay
Tribune photo by CANDACE C. MUNDY
Workers with Spectrum Underground Inc. work to repair a 20-inch sewage pipeline which broke in Town 'N Country this afternoon.
Published: September 13, 2008
TOWN 'N COUNTRY - Approximately 200,000 gallons of untreated sewage spilled into Sweetwater Creek on Friday afternoon, prompting a warning to residents along the creek to avoid the water, Hillsborough County officials said.
The spill occurred along Comanche Avenue just east of Hanley Road when a 20-inch sewage pipeline ruptured. The break was at a connection point to a section that had been replaced about eight weeks ago, officials said.
Because the work had been done so recently, it was under warranty, and the original contractor returned to fix the break, said Bill Bozeman, project manager for the county's water resource services. Bozeman did not know what caused it.
The fracture, reported by a passer-by at about 12:45 p.m., caused sewage to spill onto Hanley Road and ooze down Comanche toward the creek. The flow was contained two hours later. After five hours, a cloud of sewage still fogged the water along one of the creek's banks.
The section of Comanche where the spill occurred is home to a couple of businesses and a small strip of offices under construction. A narrow bridge over Sweetwater Creek leads to a neighborhood and to Sweetwater Organic Community Farm.
The farm does not rely on the creek for irrigation and the creek in that section is too shallow and choked with overgrowth in places for kayaking or swimming. County workers posted signs in English and Spanish notifying visitors of high bacterial levels and a health risk, telling them not to swim, wade or fish in the water.
Residents along the creek, which flows south to the Courtney Campbell Parkway area, are urged not to have any contact with the water for the next several days in the creek or the area where it flows into Tampa Bay.
While the contractor worked to repair the pipe, the county diverted the flow from nearby lift stations that serve the areas into tanker trucks.
The spill did not affect home use of water, Bozeman said.
The Water Resource Services staff will notify local and state environmental agencies, take samples and monitor the area where the spill occurred.
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