PILOT MOUNTAIN —Tuesday morning an estimated 15,000 gallons of untreated wastewater spilled into Tom’s Creek in Pilot Mountain.
The pump station on Sunset Drive failed, according to Ronald Holt, Public Works director for the town.
Crews noticed the pump was not working properly during a daily check of the pump on Sunset Drive Tuesday morning, explained Holt.
Quickly, crews began to address the issue and had the problem resolved at around 4:30 p.m. that afternoon, explained Holt.
The cause of the spill was due to vast rainfall amounts, which caused the sewer line to exceeded its capacity, according to Holt.
“Our biggest concern is the environmental impact,” stated Holt.
Tom’s Creek runs into the Pee Dee River Basin, according to Holt, causing concerns for environmental damage. There has been no damage reported of any surrounding areas, however, added Holt.
The Division of Emergency Management was notified at 5:40 p.m. the same day; in addition, the Division of Water Quality was notified.
The two departments are still reviewing the matter and it is yet to be determined if the town will owe any fines, according to Holt.
None of the town’s board of commissioners nor residents were not notified of the spill — a concern noted by Commissioner Evan Cockerham after only learning of the spillage once he was contacted for a statement regarding the incident.
“The public has a right to know immediately. We will have a thorough discussion about this with the town manager,” stated Cockerham.
Town Manager Michael Boaz stated, “Normally, we are only required to notify the state within 24 hours, if it’s over 1,000 gallons of spillage. We don’t do a specific notification to the residents.”
The town has experienced an overall problem with its sewer infrastructure in recent years which is mainly due to the age of the wastewater treatment plant, pipes and pumps.
“It’s very unfortunate but this underscores the need to invest in repairing our infrastructure in Pilot Mountain,” stated Cockerham.
Mayor Dwight Atkins claims that a capital improvement plan to repair the infrastructure has been an oversight for many years. “It’s something the town has never planned for and now it’s become an almost emergent situation.”
Recently, the town has applied for $2.5 million dollars of grant funding to begin repairs to the water and sewer infrastructure.
“The Sunset station is part of our first phase in the infrastructure investment plan that we passed last month,” added Cockerham.
Reach Eva Winemiller at (336) 415-4739 or on Twitter @ThePilotNC