SCOTT COUNTY, VA (WJHL) – Crews are working to get plans approved to repair a sewer line that is leaking 30,000 gallons of raw sewage per day into the North Fork of the Holston River.
The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation issued a water contact advisory on Friday.
Mike Dishman, Executive Director with the Scott County Public Service Authority says the warning is due untreated sewage running into the water from a broken sewer line.
The sewer line broke after a heavy flooding last week caused a crane to collapse onto the sewer line.
“That’s all the wastewater in our system on the south side of the North Fork of the Holston River in Weber City,” Dishman said.
Officials with the Scott County PSA said they are waiting for the Virginia Department of Transportation to approve their plans before they can move forward with fixing the leak.
Dishman met with several agencies on Monday to determine how to fix the leak first on a temporary basis.
“The plan right now is to install a pump upstream of the bridge into a manhole that was not damaged and then pump the wastewater across the river into the existing force main,” he explained.
He said the plan will take a few days to engineer then about two or three days to install once it’s approved by VDOT.
They hope to have a temporary fix by next Friday.
Marty Williams owns ‘Burgers R Us’ right next to the leak.
“That’s where our sewer lines and the shops sewer lines, it’s where we all tap onto also,” Williams said.
He said before the leak happened, the construction on the Highway 23 bridge was already hurting his business and he’s worried this set-back will take even longer to clear the way to his restaurant.
TDEC issued a no contact advisory on Friday, but Dishman says no E-coli was detected in the river in its initial testing.
“It’s 30,000 gallons per day so relative to the total flow of the river that’s an extremely small amount we think it’s mixing with the river very well,” he said.
Once all of the plans are finalized with VDOT, Dishman says he hopes to have the sewer line permanently fixed. But they can’t do that until VDOT brings a crane in, to remove the crane that’s in the water.
That will happen, once a hauling permit is approved for the crane to be brought in from North Carolina.
“We are going to stop the spill and get the wastewater back where it’s supposed to be as soon as possible,” Dishman said.
The Scott County PSA will meet with VDOT soon to present their temporary and permanent plans and also determine where funding will come from to fix the leak.
Meanwhile, TDEC said it is continuing to monitor the drinking water in Hawkins County to ensure it is safe.
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