During the first three days of the year, DeKalb County workers had to deal with four sewer problems that caused more than 10,000 gallons of raw sewage to spill into local creeks.
On New Year’s Day, approximately 3,060 gallons of sewage spilled into Ball Mill Creek due to grease clogging the system, according to reports by the county’s department of watershed management.
The other three spills occurred Jan. 3. Grease was the cause of a 2,400-gallon spill, reported on Memorial Drive near Avondale Estates, which sent sewage into Indian Creek.
In Dunwoody, sewage leaked into North Fork Peachtree Creek at a rate of 10 gallons per minute for about three hours. According to the records, an overflowing manhole on private property was the culprit.
Grease in a manhole on Byrnwick Road sent 3,150 gallons of sewage into Nancy Creek. Workers said they had to use rods to dislodge the grease.
Last month, DeKalb County agreed to pay a $453,000 penalty from the federal Environmental Protection Agency after having nearly 850 sewage spills since 2006. The county also consented to implement a $600,000 stream cleanup project.
Additionally, the county’s Board of Commissioners approved $1.345 billion in improvements to DeKalb’s water and sewer system, which will be financed by an 11-percent rate hike each year for three years beginning in 2012.
After last month’s vote, Commissioner Lee May said he had firsthand knowledge of the problems with sewage spills. The sewer system in his neighborhood clogged up and the only place it was coming out was through his toilet.
“My back yard is full of sewage right now—frozen sewage,” May said at the time.