Another storm, another string of sewage spills.
The onslaught of rain in metro Atlanta over the weekend caused a number of spills in DeKalb, a somewhat familiar pattern for the county’s aging sewer system.
More than 300,000 gallons of sewage spilled Saturday into early Sunday morning, streaming into local creeks and rivers, according to reports from the DeKalb County Department of Watershed Management. Two of the three reported spills, which happened in South DeKalb, were categorized as “major spills” and lasted more than 12 hours, according to the reports.
The spills started about noon on Saturday, as the Atlanta area experienced hours of nonstop rain. On Meadow Creek Path near Stonecrest, more than 189,000 gallons of sewage spilled from three manholes over the course of 14 hours, the report stated.
The spill entered Snapfinger Creek. Crews wrote that 4.7 inches inches of rain had fallen in a 90-minute period and overwhelmed the manholes.
The National Weather Service said 3.9 inches of rain fell in Atlanta on Saturday.
Meanwhile, in nearby Ellenwood, about 122,000 gallons of sewage spilled from a manhole vault into the South River “due to heavy flows in the sewer system,” the report stated. Crews monitored the spill until the rain died down, and disinfected the area. It lasted from noon Saturday to 1:15 a.m. Sunday, according to the report.
A minor spill was also reported Saturday in the Belvedere Park area, where about 1,100 gallons spilled into Shoals Creek.
More rain Monday also caused some minor spills in DeKalb, the watershed management department said.
The spills come as DeKalb County has allocated millions to fix its aging sewer system and reduce sanitation overflows. County CEO Michael Thurmond publicly acknowledged in April that DeKalb will not be able to upgrade its system by 2020, a deadline that was set in a 2010 agreement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Georgia’s Environmental Protection Division.
Thurmond said it could take an additional five years to complete the construction projects.
In other news:
Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.
Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.