McAlester News-Capital, McAlester, OK

April 26, 2013

Residents deal with effects of city dumping raw sewage in neighborhood

By Jeanne LeFlore
Staff Writer

McALESTER — The smell is gone but not forgotten.

That’s what McAlester resident said after city workers cleaned up raw sewage the city pumped from a broken sewer main into an open ditch on North 14th Street.

 The sewage sat in the ditch for four days before the city came to clean it up.

On Wednesday city of McAlester Utilities Director David Medley said it wasn’t the ideal way to handle the situation.

“We usually try to reroute the sewage down stream,” Medley said.

 City workers responded Friday to a collapsed sewage line and used a discharge hose to dump raw sewage from one side of the street and into an open ditch in front of Sherry Miller’s mothers house.

 On Tuesday the city was back at the scene to clean up the mess with a pump truck.

“The ditch was full of nasty looking water all weekend,” Miller said.

“I just don’t understand why they didn’t use the pump truck right away.”

Medley said he wasn’t sure why the pump truck is owned by the city wasn’t called to the location until Tuesday.

 “It could because the truck couldn’t hold the amount of sewage,” Medley said.

After the sewage was pumped out bleach was poured over the area.

And, according to the Department of Environmental Quality that’s the proper procedure in that particular situation.

Skylar McElhaney DEQ public information officer said every situation is different but the city was told to pump out the sewage and disinfect the area with bleach. She also said the DEQ would follow up on the clean-up.

Meanwhile Miller said the sewer smell is gone but there is still standing water in the ditch.

 Medley said the work was completed on the sewer main Tuesday.

Contact Jeanne LeFlore at jleflore@mcalesternews.com.