Raw Sewage Spills Into Boyd's Creek

By: Stephen McLamb
By: Stephen McLamb

Sevierville (WVLT) – There is serious concern in Sevier County after a city-run pump station discharges more than 2,000 gallons of raw sewage into a creek.

City officials estimate more than 2,000 gallons of raw sewage found its way into Boyd's Creek from the overspill.

It’s more bad news for Ben Brabson who lives nearby. He says it's just another incident in a ten year problem. And he wants it fixed for good.

Lime covers the ground where an overspill put more than two thousand gallons of raw sewage on the ground and into Boyd's Creek on Saturday.

"In my judgment, the city water department is playing Russian roulette with the citizens here in this community,” says Ben Brabson.

"We have a challenge for sure at that pump station on Boyd's Creek,” admits city spokesman Bob Stahlke.

City officials say a float valve malfunction caused the overspill, but admit the station has been a problem since the fall when they had to install an exterior pump.

This isn't the first time there have been problems at the pump station.

Brabson says the problems began when they built it in the late 90's and he filed suit. "One line exploded and blew sewage three hundred feet into the air."

For some nearby residents, it's a stinky situation.

"It's real annoying if you want to sit out on my porch it would be. I just keep my windows closed and stay inside,” says Ralph Finchum.

"You can look at this pump station and see for yourself. It's leaking as we speak,” Brabson says.

City officials say they're working on the problem.

"The best possible thing we can do is just rebuild that pump station, put a new one in, build it better with newer technology,” Stahlke says.

They say you can't fight City Hall, but Brabson says he has for nearly ten years and will continue until the problem is fixed and his neighborhood smells clean again.

"If they don't I will force them to. It's that simple. We'll either do it the easy way or the hard way,” he says.

Stahlke says they hope to begin the bidding process on a new pump station sometime this summer.

He says they also plan to take immediate action to prevent such overspills.

Stahlke says they plan to check the station and do maintenance daily.


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  • by josh Location: Washington on Jun 15, 2007 at 10:15 AM
    I've been tracking sewage spills all over the country for the last six months (http://healthyrivers.org) and I find it interesting to know that Seiverville residents are reporting that sewage spills at this pumping station have been occurring for the last ten years yet this is the first time I've read about it. It sounds like Tennessee's reporting and public notification requirements for sewage spills is pretty weak. Fortunately, Congress is looking to do something about this problem that effects many communities through out Tennessee and around the country. The Raw Sewage Overflow and Community Right-to-Know Act of 2007 would require sewer authorities to warn the public when spills like this one in Seiverville happen. Maybe if the sewer operators were forced to let the public know just how poor a job they were doing at protecting the public from sewage they'd feel more pressure to clean-up their act.

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