ANNE ARUNDEL, Md. (WJZ) — Residents near Marley Creek in Anne Arundel County are being warned to stay away from the creek after a large sewage spill sends tens of thousands of gallons of sewage into the water.
Monique Greigo has more.
Right now, the pumping station is undergoing renovations. The county says the spill happened after a temporary pumping system failed.
Warning signs are posted all around Marley Creek in Anne Arundel County after a pumping station failure sent at least 50,000 gallons of untreated sewage flowing into the waterway.
“You smell it every once in a while but it was really bad, a really strong smell,” said homeowner Jane Waller.
Living near the station, Waller is used to catching a whiff of waste, but the smell was unbearable Monday. Earlier that day is when the county’s Department of Public Works first noticed a problem.
“In the morning, we were notified about a manhole overflowing in the system,” said Chris Phipps, DPW.
Phipps says crews located the source of the backup to a manhole at the pumping station off Norman Avenue. The station is undergoing major renovations and during construction is using a temporary pumping system.
“The temporary pumps, the bypass pumps had failed. [They] were in the off position, were not running,” Phipps said.
Once the sewage popped the top on the manhole, the only place it could go was downhill. In this case, it flowed right through a nearby area and right into the creek.
“We had about a three-hour event when sewage was flowing into the creek,” Phipps said.
The county is now warning people to stay out of the water and avoid any direct contact until otherwise noted. DPW will be checking for bacteria and other hazards and has already started treating the ground with lime.
Neighbors are glad the county contained things quickly but say they’d like more than just warning signs.
“We would have liked to know exactly what had happened rather than just have this smell,” Waller said. “Ugh.”
Because the station is using temporary pumps, it’s also using a temporary alert system. The county says that alert system also malfunctioned so the response took longer than normal.
While early estimates suggested 50,000 gallons had spilled, it could end up being more.