Friday, October 24, 2008

Sewage Spills into Lubber Run Again

Overwhelmed pumps at fault. County brought in a back-up this morning and is asking residents to keep themselves and pets out of the contaminated portions of Lubber Run and Four Mile Run.

(Click to enlarge the image.)

Fifteen hundred gallons of raw sewage spilled into Lubber Run stream yesterday morning for the second time in 10 days, only a day after the county issued a statement saying the water had cleared from the previous spill.

Yesterday’s spill occurred during the peak morning hours when sewage overwhelmed two pumps set up to divert sewage away from lines that are being restored with an epoxy-like liner.

Although there are four pumps on site near the picnic pavilion in the park, only two are in operation at any one time, said Dave Hundelt, of Arlington County’s Department of Environmental Services. Bringing another on-line is more than just switching a valve. Temporary pipes have to be installed, for instance.

If the relining project were to go on for days or weeks more, the effort would be worth it, Mr. Hundelt said, but A.M. Liner East, Inc., the contractor that is relining the pipes, should be done with the major work today, and the sewage lines can be reopened.

Therefore, the county chose instead to bring out a pumper truck for this morning, which acts as the third back-up pump to take some pressure off the two pumps already operating, he said. He was on-site for the operation this morning.

In the past, county staff has said that the water is cleared after about a week, or some really strong rains. (The forecast for Saturday is about 100 percent rain.)

Last week, a diversion plug was overwhelmed and sent sewage out a manhole.

The contractor should be out of Lubber Run completely by the middle of next week, Mr. Hundelt said.

Related stories…
  • County's Press Release
  • County Gives All Clear on Lubber Run (Oct. 22)
  • Sewer Line Failure Pollutes Lubber Run (Oct. 15)
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