Crews with the Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District (MSD) are working to repair a broken force main that led to a sewage spill Friday in South St. Louis County. The break is near the railroad tracks that run along Nellie Avenue in Oakville.
This is the fourth sewage spill around Nellie Avenue since 2019. A break in March 2019 resulted in more than 200,000 gallons of sewage spilling into the Mississippi River. A December spill led to an overflow of more than 300,000 gallons of sewage overflowing. Another spill took place in July.
The break was discovered Friday morning by a nearby property owner. MSD crews responded, located the break and mobilized an emergency contractor to help with repairs. Work is already underway and should be finished this weekend. Cleanup and disinfection needs will be assessed at that time. No road closures are expected, and sewer service will not be affected.
Warning signs have been posted in the area, advising the public of the overflow. While there is no immediate threat to public health or safety, everyone is asked to avoid any creeks and streams in the immediate vicinity until everything is cleaned up. Anyone who comes in contact with wastewater should immediately and thoroughly wash with soap and water.
A force main is a sewer line that uses pumps to transport wastewater. Pumps and force mains are necessary when gravity alone is not enough to move wastewater through flat areas or over hills to a wastewater treatment plant. This particular force main is slated to be replaced in 2022.
MSD has reported the break to the Missouri Department of Natural Resources.