Major sewage spill after officials say pipe incorrectly installed

INDIAN LAND, S.C. — Neighbors heard the sound of rushing water in a creek behind their homes, like they would usually hear during a rain storm.

However, it wasn't raining, and hadn't rained in days.

What they were hearing was thousands of gallons of raw sewage, flowing into Long Branch Creek.

“I said we should call 911 immediately," Glenn Lucas said.

That's what he did after seeing the broken pipe while driving past it on Shelley Mullis Road near Highland Creek Circle.

"The sewage pipe was busted and it was just pouring out into the creek, and it had to be stopped," Lucas said.

The Lancaster County Water and Sewer District sent a crew just after 5 p.m. Monday, and they worked until almost 1 a.m. replacing the sewer main.

The water in the small creek was nearly black, and a Channel 9 crew could still smell the foul odor of the spill Tuesday afternoon.

County officials posted two warning signs at the creek alerting neighbors to the waste water spill.

Water and Sewer District Manager Stephen White said the spill was about 3,500 gallons, and his office was notified immediately because there's a monitor on that pipe that checks pressure. White said the sewage flowed for about three hours.

Crews put down lime, and worked to contain the spill. By late Tuesday, the water was clearer, but dark-colored pools were still visible and a rotten smell lingered.

Neighbors who see the creek in their backyard, said environmental damage isn't the only concern.

"There are also a lot of children around here in this neighborhood, and I have seen them on several occasions down playing around the creek," Lucas said.

White said the sewer line burst because of how it was installed about 15 years ago. He said the pipe was laid against a rock bed instead of in soft soil. The rock surface eventually cracked the PVC pipe.

South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control has asked the county to take water samples daily until contamination is no longer a concern.

White said he didn't expect any long-term impact, because of steps crews took to contain the spill.

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