Sewage Spill Worries Ocean Springs' Merchants

Mayor Seren Ainsworth said that at Tuesday's board of aldermen's meeting, the city would readvertise for bids, so it could find out where the sewer system was broken.

Until then, business owners like Donna Burke need their shop vacs to be on stand by. "If you look right down there," Burke said, pointing to the floor of her dance studio, "you can see the water gurgling up from the tile."

Burke was supposed to be preparing for her afternoon dance class. But the joyous sounds of "A Christmas Carol" were drowned out by the vacuum.

An overnight storm caused Ocean Springs' sewer system to back up. Raw sewage seeped into the dance studio. Burke had to disinfect everything. "I've been in here for about an hour vacuuming the water out," she said. "And it still keeps seeping out through the floor."

If you walked along N. Halstead Rd. after a heavy rain, you could see and you can smell the sewage. What made the situation worse was what happened next. The sewage went from the manhole into a storm drain and down to Fort Bayou. According to the EPA, Ocean Springs' sewage system violates the Clean Water Act, and it must be repaired.

Mayor Seren Ainsworth understands the urgency of the situation. "We're trying to hire an engineering firm to come up with bid specifications to monitor and inspect our sewer system," Answorth said.  "The bottom line is money. If we had enough money, we could fix it all."

Ocean Springs does have an EPA grant to pay for some of the work.

In the meantime, a manhole outside the dance studio keeps spewing raw sewage. It's right next door to a new clinic that Dr. Don Lagrone is building. "They've got to fix it because it's wrong and it's illegal," said Dr. Lagrone.