City Cleans Up Spill And Begins Testing

Public Works Director Kris Riemann points to the area where sewage spilled. "This is where the force main runs. It runs north towards Pass Road." It is the spot where the 16 inch pipe broke. The public works department and the Mississippi DEQ worked into the wee hours Friday. It took 12 hours to replace the broken pipe and clean up the mess. Now lime covers both sides of the ditch to absorb the odor. Riemann says about 30-thousand gallons of sewage an hour flows through the line, but he can't say for sure how much spilled. "We responded to that right after 2:00 and started making the repairs but we do not know how far before that that the sewage was flowing. We do not know exactly, no, we do not," Riemann says.

Riemann says weather could have caused the pipe to burst. "During cold weather when the temperature drops the pipe may become a little more brittle and the amount of flow that goes through this pipe, it's possible it could move some and rupture."

Charles Gabriel lives across from the ditch. The loud noise from the repairs kept him and his wife up most of the night and he was worried about his water. "I did call the city about it and they just told me that the water was okay but the smell was there," he says.

Because the spill raises a concern for public health, the city called people who live near the area through a telephone notification process. Water tests will take place just as they do when a section of the beach is closed, until there are consecutive clean samples.