Crews Continue Sewage Overflow Cleanup in Salisbury - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Crews Continue Sewage Overflow Cleanup in Salisbury

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(Photo: WBOC) (Photo: WBOC)

SALISBURY, Md.- Crews on Wednesday continued to pump out and haul away thousands of gallons of untreated sewage in Salisbury. 

The city's Public Works Department said the overflow happened after one of it' pumping stations on Ridge Road stopped working on Tuesday afternoon.

Workers had been working on Terrie Court near Riverside Road since then trying to stop the spill from flowing into the Wicomico River.
 
City officials said that already more than 100,000 gallons of sanitary sewer overflow has spilled into the river.

The city said the recent heavy rainstorms created an intense inflow in the system. That backup pushed trash, debris and grit into the system essentially clogging it. The clog in turn caused the pump to stop working.

On Wednesday afternoon, Mayor Jim Ireton and Public Works Director Teresa Gardner addressed the issue saying that people do not need to worry about any health concerns right now.

"We are lucky that the area from a health concern perspective is very minimal it came out of two clean outs that serve four houses that butt the river," Gardner said. "We were able to get sand bags in place very quickly. We followed the recommendations of the Wicomico health division in terms of how to clean it up."
 
Some neighbors in the area had to deal with the overflow spilling onto their driveways and some were busy cleaning up overflow resulting from their toilets backing up.

"The pumping trucks of course have been out here for about 36 hours and it takes eight minutes to fill one and it goes away and the next one comes in," said Buck Farver, who lives on Terrier Court. "We hope the plant will be fixed. We are not overly optimistic because we have been hearing for seven years that they are going to fix the scrubbers and fix the pumps."

Sand bags lined parts of Joann Greer's home. Greer said the city placed them there to help prevent dirty water from creeping into her home.

"Well it was a bit frightening at first because we were inundated with water," Greer said. "But they are constantly working on it and they seem to have it under control."

Wyne Clark said he has lived in the neighborhood for nearly seven years and has never seen anything like it happen in his area.
     
"Well the only problem here is getting in and out," Clark said about crews parked in front of his house. "We had a detour but we couldn't come straight through the street. We would have to go around the back street and sometimes we had to wait before the truck would move."

Farver said he hopes the city continues to work toward fixing the problem.

"Our concern is not so much our health as the environment's health and Maryland Department of Environment has been on the government's case for a long time and they come out and they fine and then they go away," he said.

Crews were expected to work through Wednesday night and Thursday as they planned to install a second temporary bypass pump.

Signs were posted from South Prong to Upper Ferry near the river cautioning people not swim or fish.
 
The city is asking the public to follow basic steps in order to prevent a similar situation from happening such as not flushing baby wipes, rags and towels, clothing, ropes wires belts and diapers. 

The overflow remains under investigation by MDE.
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