Wrightsville Beach public works staff will be conducting water quality testing today after nearly 75,000 gallons of untreated sewage was spilled into the Intracoastal Waterway on Saturday night.
Crews discovered a hole approximately the size of a fist in the Northeast Interceptor sewer line that runs under the Intracoastal Waterway. Wrightsville Beach Public Works Director Williams Squires said that the failure in the sewer main was in a segment east of the waterway that is under land, which caused a wastewater build up that overflowed and spilled into the waterway. The spill was reported at 11:54 p.m.
Crews shut the valves to the sewer main and trucks will be used in a “pump-and-haul” operation to transport sewage from the town’s lift stations to treatment stations on the mainland.
Town staff reported the spill to the North Carolina Division of Environmental Quality and will be conducting water quality tests at different sites around Wrightsville Beach. Initial results will be published within 24 hours, the town said in a press release issued Sunday.
The Wrightsville Beach Board of Aldermen has been exploring the costs of building a redundant sewer line under the Intracoastal Waterway and a recent engineering report to the board showed that the line could cost as much as $2 million. The town pumps nearly 1.7 million gallons of raw sewage per day off of the island, the engineering report said.
Before the recent November election, questions about the redundant sewer line were posed in a forum for candidates for the board of aldermen, with some candidates weighing in on whether the town needed to use a bond to raise the money to fund the line.