Perryville Uncovers Oil Leak Under Street

Posted in: United States Water News, Water Contamination
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Photo Credit: Perryville News

Article courtesy of Crystal Lyerla | April 10, 2015 | Perryville News | Shared as educational material

The Perryville Public Works Department discovered an oil leak in a storm sewer system on Wednesday morning, prompting a call to the Missouri Department of Natural Resources. Crew members were working on St. Joseph Street, in front of the Knights of Columbus Hall, capping off an old sewer and water line, which is no longer in use according to Perryville Public Works Director Mark Brown.

“The crew had cut open the street on Monday, reducing it to one lane of traffic in order to complete the repairs. The old water and sewer line was from a service station that the empty KC parking lot once housed,” Brown said. “When they opened it up, they found an old storm sewer system, which they were unsure was still in use or not. Although it was an unexpected discovery, it is not uncommon, and posed no threat to the repair process at the time.”

On Tuesday, heavy rainfall plagued the area.

“When the crew returned Wednesday morning they were shocked to see the opening had filled with an oily watery mix,” Brown said. “They could see that all the rock around the area and under St. Joseph Street had been saturated with the oil concoction. It is protocol when something like this occurs for the department to immediately contact the Missouri Department of Resources in order for an investigation to begin, and that is just we did.”

Ironically, Wednesday was Earth Day and all of the DNR agents were attending a celebration at Wappapello Lake, near the Poplar Bluff area. Public works was informed it would be Thursday before they could get anyone to the site.

Brown instructed his crew to go ahead with sucking the oily contents from the system.

“The hope is that DNR finds the old storm sewer system was capped off years ago and that the leak is contained, and has not made its way into local streams and tributaries,” Brown said. “What the investigator finds will determine how we proceed from here.”

This is the second time in less than two weeks that DNR has been called to Perryville to investigate an environmental emergency involving oil leakage. The Republic Monitor reported in the March 31 edition that Sutterer Oil & Services Station had unintentionally leaked oil into Dry Run Branch Creek after power washing one of their car bays and unplugging what was a decades old clog. Unclogging the drain led to discovery of the pipes improper tie in to the system, which carried the oily residue straight to the creek.

Brown said after seeing the article in the newspaper another local shop owner phone in to ask if he was in compliance.

“We went out with our cameras and equipment and were able to help the shop owner begin fixing the problems, before it too became an environmental safety issue,” Brown said. “That gave us the thought to offer to all local shop owners our camera scoping services and infrastructure layout knowledge free of charge, if they too would like to get ahead of a DNR violation, which can range in the thousands of dollars. All they need to do is contact public works at (573)-547-2594 and we will come out and see if they are in compliance.”

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