Sewage Spill Scare Threatens Turkey Creek - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Sewage Spill Scare Threatens Turkey Creek

GULFPORT (WLOX) -- A sewage spill scare in Gulfport created quite a stink Friday morning. The sewage soaked an old FEMA park near the Rippy Road, Three Rivers Road intersection. And for several hours, environmentalists worried that the contaminants would seep into the nearby Turkey Creek.

Russell Freeman took pictures of an environmental nightmare off Rippy Road.

"Nobody likes sewage in their yard. Nobody likes sewage in their neighborhood," he said.

Yet in a grassy field across from the Gulfport airport's main runway, Freeman spotted sewage seeping out of a concrete pit.

"It's bad for fish. It's bad for people. It's a health hazard," Freeman thought.

And late Friday morning, the sewage spill scare was threatening the nearby Turkey Creek.

Freeman is with the Turkey Creek Community Initiative. When he sees the diverse mix of trees lining the murky waters of Turkey Creek, Freeman marvels at what he calls a "maritime forest. It's just beautiful."

His fear was that whatever spewed out of the Rippy Road manhole cover could contaminate the neighboring waterway.

"People see this as a waste conduit," he said, pointing out that in his view, Turkey Creek had been so neglected for so many years.

The Turkey Creek Community Initiative has worked hard to savor the waterway's natural beauty.

"By putting trails down here and making it accessible to people, I think that we can work toward educating them as to hey, this isn't a worthless swamp. It's a beautiful piece of everybody's history," Freeman said.

Environmentalists have spent more than a year revitalizing what the Clean Water Act considers an impaired stream. So when Freeman saw algae growing in sewage filled puddles near the creek, he contacted city and county leaders and demanded they clean up the environmental mess.

"It really does smell out here," he said.

The smell dissipated when Gulfport contained the spill by having Optech employees spray lime over the contaminated puddles. The lime killed bacteria, minimizing the environmental risk.

Because Harrison County actually installed the force main valve that broke, its workers quickly replaced the faulty valve.

By Brad Kessie

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