Sanitary sewer overflows at pump stations in Anderson neighborhoods

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ANDERSON COUNTY, S.C. (WSPA) – The Anderson County Wastewater department said they experienced sanitary sewer overflows at three of its pump stations.

The wastewater manager said since Monday, parts of the county received nearly 11 inches of rain, which they believe caused the overflows. Leaders said everything is fine now, but they’re still working to ensure it doesn’t happen again.

Wednesday’s heavy rainfall caused a new concern for people in several Anderson County neighborhoods.

“That was just spewing out like a water fountain. I mean it was just coming out,” said Faith Kappler, who lives live near the Hembree Creek Pump Station off of Timberlake Road. “There was all kinds of crap coming out of there.”

Faith Kappler was an eye-witness to a 75,000 gallon sanitary sewer overflow at a pump station right next to her family’s land.

“I wouldn’t want to drink it,” Mitchell Kapper said.

County leaders also saw issues at the Stonehaven Pump Station, which had an estimated overflow of 30,000 gallons. The Gilmer Pump Station on Rhodehaven Drive had an estimated overflow of 5,000 gallons.

“Yesterday, we had roads wash out. You really can’t anticipate the type of flow we had with the storm water yesterday,” said Derrick Singleton, Wastewater Manager for Anderson County.

Singleton said when they have this type of discharge, it usually means sewer has been mixed with stormwater.

“It’s our desire to not ever have a sanitary sewer overflow,” Singleton said. “In cases like we just had, it’s unpreventable in some cases.”

Singleton said growth in the area means there are less places for the water to drain.

“We have a lot of runoff here. If you think about this creek here, it’s coming off of Clemson Boulevard. So if you think about the roof tops and the parking lots, there is a lot of water…that back in the day, would soak into the ground. Now it’s just runoffs,” Singleton said.

The Department of Health and Environmental Control was immediately notified, and leaders said they haven’t received any reports of anyone being harmed. Faith said this is still a troubling experience.

“I think it’s a big environmental hazard,” Faith said. “…Can we do something different so that not every single time it rains hard, this creek gets polluted,” she added.

“There’s millions and millions of gallons of water that was dumped yesterday. So I’m not saying there is not a hazard, but we feel like it’s been cleaned up, and properly taken care of,” Singleton said.

“You know it happens. They were good about coming to clean it up,” Mitchell said.

“At Stonehaven, we’re right in the process now, of starting a PER to upgrade that system,” Singleton said.

County leaders said public notice signs will remain up for at least a week at each site. The wastewater manager also said they will go after grants and loans, to ensure they can continue to enhance and upgrade their sewer stations.  

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