Opinion: Chapin Should Replace Aging Sewer Lines Quickly to Avoid Another Leak Near Lake Murray

Posted 4/15/22

On March 29, a raw sewer leak from a 12-inch Town of Chapin-operated sewer force main adjacent to Lake Murray brought complaints — about both the leak and earlier odor issues in the area on the …

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Opinion: Chapin Should Replace Aging Sewer Lines Quickly to Avoid Another Leak Near Lake Murray

Posted

On March 29, a raw sewer leak from a 12-inch Town of Chapin-operated sewer force main adjacent to Lake Murray brought complaints — about both the leak and earlier odor issues in the area on the Facebook group What’s Happening in Chapin.
From what the town and community have said about the incident, the leak should have been prevented. And now that it has been fixed, the town needs to take steps to prevent another leak.
According to Nicholle Burroughs, the town’s director of public affairs, approximately 2,000 gallons of the spill, about 23% of the estimated total lost from the leak, were not recovered by the workers who responded to the incident by 6:45 a.m. after the accident was called in at 5 a.m.
Spillage flow was redirected to a parallel main to stop the leak and the broken main was repaired by 11 a.m., the town reports.
“Efforts were made to eliminate any potential impact to the lake and the entire affected area was treated,” Burroughs told The Chronicle.
Chapin utility workers followed state Department of Health and Environment standards when cleaning up the spill, employing a vac truck to remove the leaked sewer material and treating the impacted area.
But 2,000 gallons remain unaccounted for.
The lost sewage material either seeped into the ground near Lake Murray or flowed directly into the reservoir.
The pipe that leaked is one of the original lines in the town’s system, Burroughs told The Chronicle.
“The town has been working with the County on major infrastructure improvements that will impact the area,” she stated.
The city responded well to the incident, but the leak should not have occurred in the first place. The pipes are old. Residents report complaining about the odor.
Now, 2,000 gallons of sewage were lost, and no one knows how much of that loss leaked into Lake Murray.
Burroughs told the Chronicle that the town had only received one complaint about the smell in the area. So perhaps if citizens have been experiencing unpleasant odors instead of just posting concerns to Facebook, they should have been calling them in — which we encourage them to do (utilities@chapinsc.com, 803-345-0416)
We urge Chapin to replace all its original sewer pipes and to do so quickly. Lake Murray is too important to Lexington County to risk another leak.
This article is the opinion of the Chronicle editorial board. To comment, email opinion@lexingtonchronicle.com.

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