Mother Nature overwhelms MSD pumping station

CHESTERFIELD, MO – Strong winds moved through the St. Louis region Sunday knocking out power to a Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District pump station. The power outage caused the pump to stop working and sewage to flow into Bonhomme Creek.

Sean Hadley, MSD spokesperson, said the pump station lost power for about seven hours, and an estimated 100,000 gallons of sewage spilled into the creek near Interstate 64 in Chesterfield.

The pump station has two lines of defense, according to Hadley, but the weather proved to be more powerful.

"Most of our pump stations, either they have a redundant feed coming in or they have a generator," he said. "This one had a redundant feed, but again, we saw with the heavy winds coming through last night that the wind knocked it out."

Hadley said MSD is staffed around the clock. When the alert came in around 1 a.m. Monday, the team responded right away.

"When we lose power or something significant happens there, we get an alert," said Hadley. "An alarm goes off and several people are alerted about what's going on."

MSD placed signs in the area where clean-up was happening to warn people to avoid the creek, but Hadley said there is no threat to public health or safety and the impact is minimal. He said last night's rain helped dilute the spill and move it downstream. Clean-up is expected to be complete Monday.

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