Yet another Alpine Utilities overflow sends sewage into creek

By Logan Smith - bio | email

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - An overflow from an Alpine Utilities spilled raw sewage into a Richland County creek, the third such occurrence in two weeks.

The utility company said the spill happened around 12:30pm at the Willow Creek Apartments, which are near Stoops Creek. An Alpine Utilities news release said the overflow was due to a grease blockage.

Department of Health and Environmental Control spokesman Thom Berry said it is not clear how much sewage spilled, but some did get into the creek. Berry said debris near the creek caught most of the spill and kept it out of the water, and crews were able to pump it back into the sewer.

Berry said DHEC is still waiting on a full report, but right now it's believed the spill poses no public risk.

This is the third time in two weeks an overflow from an Alpine Utilities sewer has sent raw sewage into Stoops Creek. Two spills at the end of January allowed 5,000 gallons of sewage to enter the creek.

In 2008, an equipment malfunction at the utility' Stoops Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant dumped partially treated wastewater into the Saluda River, prompting DHEC to close five miles of the river near the Riverbanks Zoo.

Alpine was fined $25,000 for the 2008 spill, on top of the $160,000 in cleanup costs. The company serves about 5,500 customers in northwest Columbia.

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