Sewage spill could affect nearby oyster beds

      Contaminated pond in Seaside Farms (Brandon Geier/WCIV)

      By Sonya

      MT. PLEASANT, S.C. (WCIV) -- Mt. Pleasant Waterworks and Chandler Construction are still cleaning up after a sewage spill that occurred Tuesday.

      The force main break spilled almost half a million gallons of wastewater into parts of Rifle Range Road and the ponds in Seaside Farms.

      Crews have been working non-stop since the spill in order to complete the repair and return the wastewater system back to normal.

      The major pipeline that broke on Tuesday was about 25-years-old and gave way under all the heavy rain. It has since been replaced with about 120 feet of PVC pipe.

      Nearby residents and businesses haven't been affected much, but there is concern that some the sewage may flow into nearby oyster beds. Mt. Pleasant Waterworks is sampling the water today and will get the results tomorrow.

      "The initial samples in the ponds indicate that the wastewater is still contained in the ponds, that it has not moved out of those ponds yet," said Clay Duffie, general manager of Mount Pleasant Waterworks. "It could take days perhaps weeks before that material is completely putrefied and digested in those ponds and the water levels return to safe levels in terms of bacteria, fecal culiform bacteria, dissolved oxygen, those kind of things."

      Mt. Pleasant Waterworks will be working with DHEC to determine when the water is back to a safe level.

      Adam Myrrick of SC DHEC said, "Commercial shellfish harvesters have been advised not to harvest from the immediate area of the spill."

      Clean up continues along Rifle Range and Long Grove as they remove the tanks full of wastewater and provide temporary surfacing for the turning lane.

      Residents in the area are to avoid contact with those ponds within Seaside Farms until the water quality is safe.