An electrical failure at the city of Hinesville’s wastewater treatment plant led to more than a million gallons of partially treated wastewater to spill into Taylors Creek from Wednesday evening until Thursday morning.
It is believed that a thunderstorm caused electrical failures at the plant, where then the overflow pumps went out and water eventually spilled over, according to Scott Blair, an operations specialist supporting the wastewater treatment plant at the Hinesville Public Works Department.
The electrical failure also disabled the alarms that would have alerted the department that the overflow pumps had failed.
It was calculated that 1.62 million gallons of partially treated wastewater overflowed into the creek, according to Blair.
“I think it’s characterized as a major spill,” he said.
“Upon discovery, the issue was contained and resolved within 15 minutes,” Lenard Scroggins, the director of public works, told city Public Relations Manager Brittany McClure. “All the steps in our response protocol were executed quickly and efficiently. I have to commend our utilities team for their upmost professionalism.”
CH2M is the city of Hinesville’s contractor that operates the Public Works Department.
The wastewater treatment plant is on Fort Stewart but is operated by the city.
The plant is currently under construction with upgrades, including new monitoring and alarm systems, which will be a major improvement, Paul Simonton with P.C. Simonton and Associates told McClure.
The upgrades will also put in place more safeguards, Simonton said to the Coastal Courier.
P.C. Simonton and Associates is the contracted engineering firm for the city of Hinesville for the design on the plant.
The Liberty County Health Department has also been contacted, and it will determine the impact of the spill to people in the area, McClure said.