Sewage spill upstream could mean bigger problems for the Flint River

Sewage spill upstream could mean bigger problems for the Flint River

ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) - The Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport said an unknown amount of sewage discharged into the Flint River.

The Flint Riverkeeper's Office is worried a sewage spill in Atlanta may be a part of a larger problem.

“The spill itself was caused by what’s called infiltration, which means the rainwater gets into what’s supposed to be an isolated infiltration system,” said the Flint Riverkeeper, Gordon Rogers.

The Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport said in a statement the spill occurred at a Flint River Pump station across from I-285.

Rogers said heavy rains last weekend overwhelmed the station. As a result, sewage ended up in the Flint River.

Gordon Rogers, Flint Riverkeeper
Gordon Rogers, Flint Riverkeeper (Source: WALB)

“It’s not treated like a burglary or assault or something like that, where one instance is enough to put you in the poke,” said Rogers.

He said one spill isn’t illegal. But he said this isn’t the first spill coming from the airport. Now the office must see if there is a pattern.

“So, that’s what we’re in the middle of looking at to see if the pattern of spills at the Atlanta Airport constitutes something we need to take further action on.”

The airport’s statement said an unknown amount of sewage spilled into the river. An issue South Georgia is all too familiar with.

“I know that sounds familiar because of a lot of that is what’s been happening in Albany,” Rogers said.

Rogers said there won’t be any negative health effects this far downstream of the initial spill, but the ecological effects could last.

“Make sure it’s not happening chronically in the same spot all the time because that’s illegal and very bad for the river or the creek.”

According to the airport in Atlanta, they’ll be collecting water samples and working with other agencies to determine the root of the problem.

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