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The World Environment STOCK

COOS COUNTY — The City of Myrtle Point had 30,000 gallons of wastewater spill into the South Fork River this week.

The spill happened during the storm that flooded the city, leaving many parts isolated and citizens requiring rescue from the Coos County Sheriff’s Department.

“It was the main sewer plant that had an overflow just because of the volume of water coming in,” said Darin Nicholson, city manager for Myrtle Point. “The pumping rate exceeded the outflow rate on the other end. It actually surcharged to the point of overflowing the treatment basins.”

The city believes that the spill only lasted for about 15 minutes before the operator on site discovered it and shut down one of the influent pumps, fixing the problem.

“It was coming in at 4,000 gallons a minute and leaving at 1,500, so it doesn’t take long,” Nicholson said.

Because the wastewater treatment plant is located on the floodplain and surrounded by floodwater at the time of the spill, the estimated 30,000 gallons went into the South Fork River.

Nicholson told The World that he reported it to Oregon Emergency Response and the Department of Environmental Quality.

Meanwhile in the City of Coquille, its wastewater treatment plant processed four and a half million gallons a day since Feb. 23 as the storm drenched the South Coast.

“Since we have a relatively new plant, we no longer have spills,” said Kevin Urban, the public works and planning director for Coquille.

Urban said the volume of being processed at the plant is now slowing down, but emphasized that everything going through is being treated and discharged to the river “as it’s supposed to.”

“We don’t have spills any longer like we did with the old plant that we replaced in 2012,” he said. “We love our new plant.”

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Reporter Jillian Ward can be reached at 541-269-1222, ext. 235, or by email at jillian.ward@theworldlink.com. Follow her on Twitter: @JE_Wardwriter.

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