Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Firm That Let Sewage Spill May Be Fined Waders Were Barred from Creek; `It Was a Mess,' Says State Expert

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Firm That Let Sewage Spill May Be Fined Waders Were Barred from Creek; `It Was a Mess,' Says State Expert

Article excerpt

State officials are considering fines or other legal action against Imperial Utility Corp. for a sewage spill that killed more than 500 fish in Rock Creek in Jefferson County last month. The spill temporarily forced waders out of the creek at Mastodon State Historic Site.

"It was a mess; it is definite that fines or some other action will result," Tom Sims, an environmental specialist with the Missouri Department of Natural Resources at St. Louis, said last week.

The spill of between 6 million and 7.8 million gallons of raw sewage happened Aug. 8 when workers hired by Imperial Utility Corp. accidentally broke a main line from a sewage pump station to a lagoon behind the new Seckman High School. The site is in the 2800 block of Seckman Road between Imperial and Arnold. Authorities say the line was broken by a backhoe. The workers were preparing to shut down the pump station because new sewer lines in the area were replacing the lagoon. Sims says that the workers briefly stemmed the flow of sewage out of the lagoon by pouring concrete at the location of the break but that the sewage eventually flowed around the concrete and into Rock Creek, where it killed the fish. He said all the sewage in the lagoon flowed into the creek before workers could stop the flow. Neal Trubowitz, administrator of the Mastodon State Historic Site, says he acted quickly to stop people from the popular activity of wading in Rock Creek at the historic site after learning of the sewage spill from the Jefferson County sheriff's department. The historic site is about two miles downstream from where the sewage spill occurred. "I cleared people out of the creek myself," Trubowitz said. He said officials at the site prevented anyone from entering the creek there for a week after the sewage spill. He and county officials said they had no reports of anyone being sickened as a result of the spill. Richard Duchrow, a biologist with the Missouri Department of Conservation, says all the dead fish in the creek were found within a couple of days after the sewage spill. …

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