Storm surge pushed untreated wastewater out of manholes in Manteo

Published 4:32 pm Monday, September 9, 2019

Hurricane Dorian sent storm surge onto downtown Manteo streets, causing a discharge of untreated wastewater on Friday, September 6 through Saturday, September 7.

An estimated 31,000 gallons of wastewater gushed from the manholes at or near the intersection of Fernando and Agona Street and the intersection of Fernando Street and Queen Elizabeth Avenue. Contaminated water also flowed from the clean-out at the intersection of Queen Elizabeth Avenue and Ananias Dare Street. The untreated wastewater was discharged into Shallowbag Bay.

Manteo’s town manager James Ayers said most of the wastewater discharge was stormwater draining into the system mixing with sewage. Barricades were erected to prevent pedestrians and motorists from entering the contaminated areas. For a time, residents were asked conserve water to minimize flows into the sewer system. The Division of Water Resources was notified and is reviewing the matter.

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As the winds and sound surge subsided, the Manteo Sewer and Water Department worked to sanitize and pump down the influx of storm surge into the sewer system. The town’s wastewater plant remained operational throughout the storm with the use of generators.

By Monday, except for some scheduled and residual maintenance near the Roanoke Marshes Lighthouse parking lot, the wastewater system was restored and working. Otherwise, only minor damage was reported in the town and cleanup of debris started over the weekend. Ayers said it was “nice to have the lights back on and [the town] getting back to normal.”



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