Program Error Causes Wastewater Spill in MI

Monday, August 22, 2016 @ 04:08 PM gHale


After a malfunction in computer programming released 572,000 gallons of partially treated wastewater into the Kalamazoo River, the affected waterway is now clear of any issues.

The spill occurred from the city of Kalamazoo’s Water Reclamation Plant and hit a section of the Kalamazoo River. As a result of the Tuesday spill, a health advisory went into place immediately following the spill, but ended up canceled early Thursday afternoon.

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The city of Kalamazoo’s Department of Public Services sampled the river between the Paterson Street Bridge and the D Avenue Bridge, and the results went to the Kalamazoo, MI, County Health and Community Services Department. The county health department approved the cancellation of the advisory.

The spill was not raw sewage, but partially treated wastewater that had been at the plant for 18 to 20 hours and had gone through most of the treatment process.

Excessive amounts of rain Monday night and Tuesday raised the city Water Reclamation Plant’s daily flow level to more than 47 million gallons of water, up from a normal amount of 26 million gallons, plant workers said.

A sensor failed to alert a third pump to kick on because of the large amount of water flowing into the plant. Workers caught the error during a routine inspection of the plant.