Memphis forced to dump sewage in Mississippi River - Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Memphis forced to dump sewage in Mississippi River

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City officials have a warning about after a broken piece of equipment forced them to send sewage into the Mississippi River. City officials have a warning about after a broken piece of equipment forced them to send sewage into the Mississippi River.
MEMPHIS, TN -

(WMC-TV) – City officials have a warning about after a broken piece of equipment forced them to send sewage into the Mississippi River.

Three million gallons of water flow past Memphis every second and now city leaders say another 694 gallons per second of something else is flowing by too.

"It's very unusual and it's very unfortunate, but at this point there is little we can do," said Dan Gilliom, the city's public works director.

City officials posted signs in the immediate area warning people to avoid contact with the water because it is contaminated and may pose a health risk.

The problem is just upstream.

"There's no pumps operating," said Gilliom.

During routine, scheduled maintenance at the Maynard C. Stiles wastewater treatment facility on Saturday, a shut-off valve broke and flooded all three pump motors, short circuiting the system and shutting down the plant.

City officials say they had no other choice but to activate the bypass system and send untreated wastewater into the river.

"In order to reduce the damage to Memphis residents and businesses by wastewater backing up into structures and premises," said Gilliom.

The city followed protocol and notified the state while crews work around the clock to repair the issue.

The problem may be resolved as early as Tuesday.

"We're doing everything we can to get the plant back online to reduce any health risks or any risks to the environment," Gilliom said.

The city's drinking water, which doesn't come from the Mississippi River, is perfectly safe.

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