D’IBERVILLE, Miss. (WLOX) - It’s no surprise to have an odor problem at a sewage lift station, but finding raw sewage flowing down a ditch across from your house is cause for alarm.
Lucille Galle has lived across the street from a sewage treatment plant since 1985. In December 2011, the facility on 7th Street in D’Iberville was replaced by a lift station.
Not surprisingly, the odor is a problem. According to Galle, things get bad at least a couple of times a week
“It is a terrible smell that you can smell all over the neighborhood and it just smells like a septic tank, like sewer,” Galle said.
Another problem of sewage spilling out of the lift station’s containment area got her attention last week.
“This is only the second time in two or three months that I’ve seen this. The first time I didn’t do anything about it. I knew it was wrong, I called and reported to the people that owns the sewer plant and they came out and worked on it and it didn’t happen again and I thought things would be fine, and then this morning, I found it happening again so that’s when I decided to go a little further and get a little more aggressive with it,” she said.
Public records from the Harrison County Utility Authority and the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality revealed that last week’s spill was caused by a mechanical failure of the pump, combined with a failure of the back-up generator. Those problems were originally caused during Hurricane Zeta in October of last year.
“Overflowing bubbling water flowing out of places that it shouldn’t have been, and it was flowing into a small ditch and flowing at least a block or two down the road along the side of the road in a small ditch to a bayou that leads to Back Bay waters,” Galle said.
Less than 1,000 gallons were spilled, but records show that several previous mechanical issues with this lift station have caused spills of 200 gallons to 150,000 gallons.
“There’s mechanical issues, there’s any number of issues , and we work real hard to keep everything running and keep everything going,” said HCUA Executive Director John Wilson.
Records show five mechanical failures at the pump since 2013 in addition to six overflows caused by heavy rains.
“It is what it is, and we’re doing the best we can,” Wilson said.
“But it just should not be happening,” Galle said. “It’s nasty, it’s stinky, it’s stinky for everyone.
“Hopefully, we’ll get something done to make our neighborhood a lot nicer smelling to be able to sit outside and enjoy life.”
The 7th Street lift station handles all of the sewage in D’Iberville south of the Tchoutacabouffa River, pumping about 750,000 gallons of sewage a day.