Riverkeeper Discovers Massive Sewer Spill on Stoops Creek
On the morning of Wednesday, February 17th while collecting water quality samples Congaree Riverkeeper discovered a large sewer spill in Stoops Creek, a tributary to the Lower Saluda River. We found a broken force main (large pressurized sewer pipe) spilling sewage into the creek downstream of Bush River Rd and the railroad crossing. We contacted the City of Columbia and DHEC who responded quickly and began working on a repair plan. Water quality samples collected by both Congaree Riverkeeper and the City of Columbia showed significantly high bacteria levels in the creek and the Lower Saluda River.
The City and their contractor built temporary dams on both sides of the broken pipe and on Thursday the 18th began pumping the sewage into the nearby Alpine Utilities wastewater plant to provide some level of treatment. Other pumps were used to bypass the creek while crews made repairs to the pipe. On Friday the 19th the pipe was patched and SCE&G released water into the Lower Saluda to help flush the river. Bacteria samples collected after the repair and flush were completed came back below the state standard.
We believe the spill had been occurring for at least 30 days and the total volume of sewage spilled is likely in the millions of gallons.