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The Daily Tar Heel

OWASA Officials: Waste Spill Poses Little Threat

But sewer officials say the spill, which was contained in less than an hour, did not pose a significant threat to the creek.

Orange Water and Sewer Authority personnel responded to reports of an overflow at 2 p.m. on Sugarberry Road near North Fordham Boulevard.

The OWASA staff recovered about 700 gallons of the spilt wastewater and pumped it back into the system.

OWASA Executive Director Ed Kerwin said a major threat would involve an overflow of several thousand gallons of wastewater, significantly more than what was involved in last week's incident. "This was a relatively small situation that we were able to contain," he said.

Kerwin said the environmental impact of a wastewater spill is also dependent on where the sewage drains.

"If it goes into the ocean, that's another situation," he said. "But something of that magnitude (into a creek) has no significant environmental impact."

Disinfectant, bales of straw and deodorant were placed around the manhole and on the ground where the spill occurred.

Gustavo Ocoro, vice chairman for the Chapel Hill Sierra Club, said wastewater spills should be treated with extra caution.

"It's very difficult to remove (wastewater) because it finds its way straight to the stream water."

The City Editor can be reached at citydesk@unc.edu.

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