Another spill at Oconee County’s Calls Creek wastewater plant, but a small one

A break in a sewer main sent wastewater into Calls Creek this week. (Staff File Photo, Athens Banner-Herald)

A break in a sewer main sent wastewater into an Oconee County creek this week, but the spill was small, according to the Oconee County Public Utilities Department.

 

A notice posted on the department’s website said the spill is “minor” under the guidelines of the Georgia Environmental Protection Division.

According to the notice, about 750 gallons of wastewater made it to Calls Creek at the Calls Creek wastewater treatment plant in Watkinsville after a force main broke at about 9:15 a.m. at a pump station that pumps wastewater into the plant.

According to the notice, downstream testing found no environmental damage.

“The flow in the stream appears to have diluted the small wastewater plume,” according to the notice posted on Oconee County’s website.

The break comes as the county commission prepares to vote on a multimillion dollar upgrade and expansion of the plant.

A series of spills at the plant and at the county’s other wastewater treatment facility, the Rocky Branch land application system, focused attention on a looming wastewater crisis beginning in 2015.

Saturday’s spill was much smaller than those earlier spills, some of which were estimated at more than 100,000 gallons.

A consultant found the plants were not being maintained properly, but since then, under new utility director Wayne Haynie, the plants are operating adequately.

The two plants are nearing capacity however, though the planned expansion of the Calls Creek plant from a capacity of .667 million gallons a day to 1.5 million gallons should give the county enough capacity to last until sometime in the 2020s, according to Haynie.

Follow Lee Shearer at www.facebook.com/LeeShearerABH or https://twitter.com/LeeShearer

 

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