(KMOV) – A power outage at MSD’s Bissell Point Wastewater Treatment Plant caused 3.5 million gallons of untreated wastewater to discharge into the Mississippi on Wednesday.
The Bissell Point Plant, located in an industrial section of North St. Louis, experienced a power outage after two of the three separate power feeds coming into the facility experienced a failure.
According to MSD, the plant utilizes two feeds, with the remaining feed acting as a backup power source.
The plant must have two feeds in order to operate securely.
At approximately 12:15 p.m., the loss of power ceased normal operations causing untreated wastewater to discharge into the Mississippi River.
Nearly an hour and a half later, power to one of the two failed feeds was restored according to MSD.
The plant resumed operations and the discharge was halted.
While a discharge is not acceptable at any standard, there is minimal risk to human health and safety from this incident said MSD.
The portion of the river said to be contaminated is not commonly used for recreation according to MSD. Furthermore, because of the flow rate and volume of the river, the wastewater was diluted almost instantaneously.
Due to the strict regulations and guidelines for the treatment of drinking water, providers commonly test for pollutants before distribution according to MSD.
Even with the above facts being stated, MSD reiterates that discharges of this nature are not acceptable and the agency will continue to work diligently to protect against them in the future.