Sewage spill caused by power loss at private pumping station

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ATLANTA - Chattahoochee Riverkeeper staff members said the way a sewage leak caused a fish kill on July 3 in a local creek is unprecedented.

Ten thousand gallons of raw sewage leaked into Tanyard Creek when the power was cut off to a nearby private pumping station.


Dozens of fish died and others gasped for air as the sewage sent the water's oxygen levels plummeting.

One staff member told Channel 2's Craig Lucie in the organizations 19 year history,  they have never seen a spill caused by the power being cut off to a private pumping station.

"It was way above the limits it was supposed to be," said Michael Meyer, a watershed protection specialist for Chattahoochee Riverkeeper. "It was really bad."

E.Coli levels skyrocketed, said Meyer.

"It went to the edge of the test," said Meyer. "As much as we could detect. This was pretty unprecedented."

Juliet Cohen, with Chattahoochee Riverkeeper said Georgia Power cut power to a private pumping station for The Reserve at City Park condos after a utility bill went unpaid.

"We saw sewage coming out of a pipe," said Cohen. "The sewage was no longer directed in the right direction and back flowing into creek," said Cohen.

Sarah Nehf walks her dog at Tanyard Creek Park weekly.

"It's definitely a concern for me because we come to this river all the time," she said. "(My dog) clearly loves to bathe and swim around in it,and I'm concerned she might get sick."

Georgia Power confirmed the sewage overflow was caused by turning off the electricity to the pumping station. The company sent Channel 2 Action News a statement saying the issue was exacerbated by heavy rains and that it worked with the city of Atlanta and the state's Environmental Protection Division to quickly restore power to the private pumping station.