40-50 million gallons of raw sewage poured into Cypress Creek after pipe break

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- An estimated 40-50 million gallons of raw sewage poured into Cypress Creek after a major sewer line broke Thursday and is still leaking.

That information was just released in a news conference.

According to the City of Memphis Public Works Department "Emergency work is already underway to contain sewage from the break. Sewer services to homes and businesses in this area have not, and will not be affected."

The break happened west of Paul Lowry Road and McKellar Lake.

A Public Works spokesperson said a contractor is working 24 hours a day to construct a bypass so the pipe can be used again.

Construction could take several days.

A permanent fix could take 3-4 days and cost $8-10 million.

Warning signs will be placed in the area advising people to avoid the creek due to the sewage release.

The city of Memphis could be fined after a damaged sewage pipe. The Division of Public Works is preparing to spend millions to repair a sewer break located in Cypress Creek.

This could cost the city up to 10 million dollars. It's near Near McKellar.

People with houseboats are concerned about their health.

The recent rain is to blame for the Cypress Creek Sewer Break. The city says the sewage pipe poured at least 40 to 50 million gallons of untreated wastewater per day.

Janet Prater has a houseboat on McKellar Lake and is upset.

"It's really not a surprise to me to hear this but it is saddening," she said.

Public Works director Robert Knecht says the city noticed the problem Thursday. Although Knecht says it's too early to know if this poses as a health risk, caution signs are posted warning people the water may be contaminated.

"We're going to be setting up what we call bypass pumping where by we’ll capture all of the flow that is currently discharging into South Cypress Creek and then pump it around the failed section to approximately a location downstream where it will be entering back into our system and be treated properly," he said.

Public Works had conversations with the state and reached out to the health department. In 2012, The U.S Environmental Protection Agency announced a comprehensive clean water act settlement with Memphis.

The city agreed to make improvements to its water systems to avoid untreated raw sewage. Others wonder how many other problems will impact them.

WREG reached out to the city to ask them about the previous issue with the EPA 2012. They released this statement "The purpose of the consent decree to review sanitary sewer overflow, including testing and making repairs. The consent decree can take up to 10 years to complete as the City inspects the condition of more than 3,000 miles of sewer line," said a spokesperson with the department.

As for the recent problem, Crews are working around the clock. Overtime there's been a lot of erosion.



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