Heavy rain brings another sewage overflow at collapsed sewer line off Man o' War

jwarren@herald-leader.comMay 22, 2014 

Heavy overnight rains caused another sewage overflow early Thursday morning at a collapsed sewer line off Man o' War Boulevard, Lexington officials said.

Contractors quickly built a small earthen dam to divert the leaking sewage into a sanitary sewer manhole, bringing the problem under control after about two hours, said Mark York, spokesman for the Lexington Division of Environmental Policy.

However, York said Thursday afternoon that the 11/2 inches of rain and the resulting overflow will mean further delays in repairing the original sewer line collapse.

That problem began Sunday afternoon, when part of the 24-inch sewer line near Man o' War and Rapid Run Drive collapsed for unknown reasons.

The collapse caused sewage to back up in the line, and leak out of two sanitary sewer manholes inside Man o' War Boulevard. Some of the sewage went into a subdivision pond and into a small tributary of Hickman Creek, York said.

Work crews installed a bypass line Tuesday to halt the original leak. But rains Wednesday night and Thursday morning overwhelmed the temporary fix and caused more sewage to leak Thursday morning, York explained. He said he had no estimate on now much additional sewage leaked.

York said the rains dumped large amounts of storm water into the bypass sewer line, and pumps that had been installed earlier couldn't contain the added flow.

"With the overnight rain, the waste water was getting mixed in with storm water that was entering the system, and the pumps just couldn't keep up with it," he said.

"The line couldn't handle all the flow, and so we had another backup and the manholes overflowed again."

Overflow from those manholes, inside Man o' War Boulevard, went into the same retention pond inside the Racquet Club apartment complex that was filled with sewage during the original leak over the weekend.

Racquet Club residents are being asked to avoid the area around the pond until the pond can be completely pumped out and cleaned, city environmental officials said Thursday.

City crews and contractors are continuing to consider options for making permanent repairs to the line that collapsed, York said.

The city now is making overall improvements to Lexington's sanitary sewer system as required under a consent decree signed with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Among other things, those improvements are designed to prevent stormwater from entering sanitary sewers and overwhelming the system, as happened Thursday morning at Man o' War.

Jim Warren (859) 231-3255.

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