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Wednesday, September 30, 2009 - 8:40am

Sewage Stops Pouring Into Ocmulgee River

Four to six million gallons of sewage that were flowing straight into the Ocmulgee River every day have been diverted and are no longer going into the river.

Officials with the Macon Water Authority say they were forced to shut down a lift station after a pipe collapsed at the Macon Levee during last week's flooding. They were concerned they might lose the levee.

Emergency repairs are being made to that pipe, but until they are completed the sewage will keep rushing into the river.

The spills are occurring near the Ocmulgee National Monument and along the Ocmulgee Heritage Trail. Brian Rood teaches Environmental Science at Mercer University and went down to the river to see the damage for himself.

"Down at the Spring Street boat ramp there's actually a fracture in the concrete slab of the boat ramp and there is actually, literally a fountain of raw sewage pouring on to the slab and down into the river."

Rood says he anticipates the city will have to conduct an extensive clean-up of the two parks in order to protect people's health. For now the Ocmulgee Heritage trail remains closed.

The Macon Water Authority is testing the water for levels of fecal coliform, or the amount of animal and human waste in the water. So far they have issued no public health warnings.

The smell is apparent in many parts of downtown Macon. The sewage spill is likely to be the largest ever in the history of Macon.


Rickey Bevington