Archive for Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Topeka to pay $10K for sewage release

October 14, 2015

— Topeka will pay $10,000 for releasing 3 million gallons of raw sewage into the Kansas River earlier this year, the city announced Wednesday.

The fine is part of a consent agreement that the city and the Kansas Department of Health and Environment reached, according to a news release. The money will come from the city's wastewater fund, The Topeka Capital-Journal reported.

Topeka also must implement an emergency notification plan, which would involve warning residents of Lawrence, Olathe and Johnson County Water District No. 1 "within 24 hours of discovering a discharge that could cause a significant public health threat," the city said.

Deputy City Manager Doug Gerber said the spill was caused by an internal power failure, which has since been addressed "multiple times over."

"We will pay the fine and move on from this incident in a better position to mitigate spills than ever before," Gerber said.

The two-day spill began April 17 after a pump station experience a power outage, but wasn't discovered until a city employee noticed unusually low flows at a Topeka wastewater treatment plant.

The consent agreement also requires the city to repair and upgrade backup power controls at the pump station and conduct monthly testing of secondary and backup systems.

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