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Heavy rain causing sewage problems in Tyrell County - Greenville, NC | News | Weather | Sports - WNCT.com

Heavy rain causing sewage problems in Tyrell County

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COLUMBIA, N.C. - Wet weather conditions in eastern North Carolina is causing some problems for one local community.

On Thursday, Columbia, the major town in Tyrell County, faced a potential sewage problem.

This week mother-nature dropped more than seven inches of rain on the town. Town manager, Rhett White says rain along with a high tide caused concern among town and county officials. That concern was for the sewage system, as the added water caused the system to inch close to its capacity. As a precaution, on Thursday, all three county schools were released early to make sure the system didn't get backed up.

"I can only think of once or twice in the past ten years that that's happened and it has usually been associated with tropical storm situations or hurricane situations," said White.

For parents, like Jessica McNair, having to close the school because of a sewage threat was a concern.

"It was very weird, about the septic tanks in schools. Like they should have that stuff together: because, I don't want my kid messing in nothing like that," said McNair.

On Friday, schools and businesses were back to normal.

While dismissing schools early for sewage is a rare occurrence, people who live in Columbia say drainage problems are a common issue, especially when it rains. White says part of the reason is the current water treatment plant has the capacity to process 300,000 gallons of water a day. However, when rain water and tide water get into the system, it slows the drainage process down.

White says to help alleviate the problem; the town is currently in the final phase of finishing a new 600,000 gallon capacity sewage plant. White says the town has also been replacing old sewer lines and man holes to try and upgrade the system.

“If we can upgrade the system overall that will make the system more efficient and it will take of situations where we have massive amounts of water that enters the system,” said White.  

White anticipates the new plant to be finished by late December or early January.



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