WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Cape Fear Public Utility Authority staff estimate nearly 44,000 gallons of untreated wastewater was discharged into Barnards Creek, a tributary of the Cape Fear River, Monday afternoon.
It happened after an outside contractor working for Duke Energy struck a sewer force main while installing a utility pole, CFPUA wrote in a news release.
CFPUA crews plan to install a temporary wastewater bypass near the Barnards Creek Pump Station while permanent repairs are made to a broken sewer main.
CFPUA says crews stopped the wastewater discharge and isolated the damaged force main Monday evening. The wastewater flow was diverted to an adjacent undamaged force main. The pump stations that use these mains are operating effectively and will continue to be monitored.
After the SSO was reported, CFPUA turned off all three pump stations that use the force main and performed pump-and-haul operations.
CFPUA says staff is continuing to take samples at the site to monitor water quality.
The NC Department of Environmental Quality and the City of Wilmington have been notified.
Construction on a temporary above-ground bypass for the broken main will begin this week.
Piping for the bypass will run across the bridge over Barnards Creek on the northbound shoulder of River Road, requiring temporary closure of the bicycle lane in that area. Signage will be deployed to alert drivers.