No public health threat found after break dumps 11 million gallons of sewage in Chesterfield

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CHESTERFIELD, Missouri — A main break that dumped 11 million gallons of sewage in the Chesterfield area did not pose a public health threat, according to water officials.

Some of the sewage discharge went into the Missouri River upstream from drinking water intakes for the city of St. Louis and for Missouri American Water, which serves parts of St. Louis and St. Charles counties, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports ( But it's difficult to gauge exactly how much made it into the river and other waterways, Lance LeComb, a spokesman for the Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District, said Tuesday. The total amount of sewage released was roughly the volume of 17 Olympic swimming pools.

The break in the main occurred Sept. 8, releasing sewage into a drainage ditch leading to the Missouri River. The sewer district set up a dam and pumping system but rain last week kept sewage flowing to the river and slowed repairs. Manhole overflows in the Chesterfield area also occurred after the broken main was shut down for repairs.

The Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District finished replacing 100 feet of pipe Friday night and cleanup was completed on Saturday, according to LeComb.

Missouri American Water has stepped up water testing, spokeswoman Ann Dettmer said, and added additional carbon to its water supply to help remove contaminants.

"Our water quality stayed good and at no time was there any problem for any of our customers," she said.

The city also increased chlorine and carbon at its Missouri River intake following the break, according to St. Louis Water Commissioner Curt Skouby.

"We saw an increase in bacteria, but it was nothing that we haven't seen in other times of the year," he said. "There's a tremendous amount of dilution on top of everything."

Information from: St. Louis Post-Dispatch,

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