JEFFERSON CITY, MO - Technical problems at a Winfield wastewater treatment facility today resulted in the continuing release of a mixture of untreated sewage and storm water into an unnamed tributary of a Lincoln County creek, according to the Missouri Department of Natural Resources.
Officials with the Lincoln County Public Water District #1, Winfield, notified the department this morning of the overflow, which was caused when the plant's filters became clogged. The untreated sewage or wastewater entered a storm water lagoon, which eventually began to overflow with a mixture of the wastewater and storm water into an unnamed tributary of Bob's Creek.
As of late Tuesday afternoon, the lagoon was continuing to discharge the mixture of wastewater and storm water to the tributary.
The department dispatched staff from its St. Louis Regional Office to Winfield today to assess the environmental damage, sample the water in the tributary and to oversee repair of the facility.
The department considers discharges of wastewater from sanitary sewer collection systems to be threats to public health and the environment. Such discharges can contaminate lakes and streams, causing serious water quality problems.
Sanitary sewer overflows can be caused by obstructions in sewer lines, such as in this case, mechanical failure, infiltration of rainwater and snow melt into aging systems or undersized systems that cannot compensation for sudden increases in wastewater.
Communities across Missouri produce millions of gallons of wastewater that must be properly transported and treated before being released to waterways. However, some communities are facing challenges in accomplishing this.
In order to protect public health and the environment, the department requires communities to take appropriate action to eliminate their sanitary sewer overflow issues. To do this, communities should develop a system to track information about such incidents, including the date, time, location and size of the overflow, weather data, who notified them, when they notified the department and the measures taken to respond. The community can then use this data to aid in developing a plan to inspect the collection system, and plan and finance system upgrades.
For more information on sanitary sewer overflows or other water quality issues, contact the Department of Natural Resources' Water Protection Program at 573-751-1300 or 800-361-4827 or visit the department Web site at dnr.mo.gov/env/wpp.
To report an environmental emergency, including sewage overflows, please contact the DNR spill line at 573-634-2436. For more information contact the department at 800-361-4827 or 573-751-3443, or visit the department's Web page at dnr.mo.gov.