Warnings Up After Sewage Spill at Salisbury Wastewater Treatment Plant - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Warnings Up After Sewage Spill at Salisbury Wastewater Treatment Plant

Signs have been posted along the Wicomico river warning people not to swim or fish in the water. (Photo: WBOC) Signs have been posted along the Wicomico river warning people not to swim or fish in the water. (Photo: WBOC)

06/18/2008 7:37 AM ET; Updated 6:32 PM ET

SALISBURY, Md. - The City of Salisbury says 21,000 gallons of partially treated sewage spilled at the wastewater treatment plant and into the river Tuesday afternoon.

The Public Works Director says it happened after a new piece of equipment malfunctioned.

Mayor Barrie Tilghman says Tuesday's spill is directly related to the $80 million construction project at the wastewater treatment plant. She says the city is working hard to prevent another spill.

Mayor Tilghman says, "We're very disappointed. We take our role very seriously.  I know that after each of the instances there is a an in-depth analysis of what happened and, okay, what do you have to do going forward to make sure that doesn't happen."

Signs have been posted along the Wicomico river warning people not to swim or fish in the water but some people we spoke to say they do not need signs because of the river's reputation.

David Dean does maintenance on his boat at the Salisbury marina. He worries the spill, the third this year, will discourage boaters from coming to the marina.

Dean says, "It's no secret all over Maryland that the Wicomico is probably one of the most polluted rivers on the bay. They're trying so hard to promote to get boaters to come up here I mean that's what its all about."

People were also planning to spend the day on their boat like Kyle Finkbeiner. He says he did not know about Tuesday's spill.

Finkbeiner says,"I doubt we're gonna go swimming or wake boarding or anything out here."

The Wicomico Environmental Trust group wants Salisbury to start a new citizen commission to look at these spills and offer recommendations.

City Administrator John Pick says an effluent pump used to pump wastewater out of the plant malfunctioned on Tuesday afternoon and sent gallons of partially treated waste water into a street adjacent to the plant and down a manhole.

Crews posted several signs along the Wicomico River between the city and Upper Ferry warning people to keep out.  

Wicomico health and MDE officials have been taking samples of the river and will do that every day until they get two consecutive days of clean results. 

Pick says they do not anticipate anything major. 

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