Hartsfield-Jackson spilled 22,000 gallons of sewage into Sullivan Creek

Credit: Source: Hartsfield-Jackson

Credit: Source: Hartsfield-Jackson

Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport said approximately 22,000 gallons of sewage spilled Monday into Sullivan Creek, which is a south flowing tributary of the Flint River.

The Jan. 30 spill came from a manhole on a temporary bypass line east of the intersection of Riverdale Road and West Fayetteville Road, near exit 139 of I-285, according to the Atlanta airport’s public notification Thursday.

State law says the owner of a Publicly Owned Treatment Works responsible for a spill shall report the incident to local media within 24 hours of becoming aware of the incident. Hartsfield-Jackson spokesman Andrew Gobeil said the airport was working to verify the information before reporting the incident.

The airport said the cause of the spill is under investigation, but it appears the discharge pipe shifted.

Water is being sampled in Sullivan Creek at the point of the release, upstream and downstream.

“Initial field monitoring data indicates no significant impact to the area,” the airport said in its notice. Hartsfield-Jackson said the state and agencies downstream have been notified, and it is working with them to mitigate the impact of the spill.

It’s far from the first sewage spill at the airport.

In 2021, Hartsfield-Jackson was fined $22,914 for more than a dozen sewage spills over the previous decade — most of them into Sullivan Creek. The volume of those spills ranged from 200 gallons to 2 million gallons. Two of the larger spills killed fish in the creek. In one year — 2014 — there were six sewage spills reported.

Hartsfield-Jackson last year was fined $40,000 for a major fuel spill in 2021 that killed fish along more than two miles of the Flint River.