DeKalb County pins Clarkston sewage spill on diapers, wipes and grease

Posted by Dan Whisenhunt February 21, 2018

DeKalb Watershed Management employees on the scene of a sewage spill in Clarkston. Photo provided by Tracy Bishop

As the county’s Department of Watershed Management continues to clean up the mess created by a sewer spill in Clarkston, the county has expanded the list of items accused of causing the mess.

The spill occurred on Sunday in a manhole along Cleavemark Drive and made its way to a lake near Millam Park. The spill volume was estimated at roughly 5,300 gallons which killed more than 1,000 fish in the lake. Initially the overflow was blamed on fats and grease blocking an 8 inch pipe.

On Wednesday, the county said that disposable diapers and wipes also were clogging it up.

“Watershed crews stopped the spill an hour after notification by pressure-washing the sewer line to remove the blockage and restore flow in the area,” a press release from the county says. “Additionally, a pump was installed to aerate the lake and dead fish were removed.”

The county also notified the Georgia Wildlife Protection Division and the Georgia Department of Natural Resources. EPD plans “enforcement action” of some kind once the investigation into the spill is complete, according to Marzieh Shahbazaz, a manager at EPD.

The county said residents can do their part to keep grease out of the sewer lines. Residents are encouraged to put cooled grease in a sealed container and throw it in the trash. The county says residents should scrape food from plates and cookware and should wipe excess grease from all dishes with a paper towel before washing.

The county press release did not state the obvious: don’t flush your baby wipes and disposable diapers, unless you enjoy the aroma of a lake contaminated with sewage.

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