Task force to investigate illegal dumping into sewer system

Task force to investigate illegal dumping into sewer system


by WCNC.com Staff


Posted on February 7, 2014 at 1:12 PM

Updated Friday, Feb 7 at 6:22 PM

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- A joint task force has been formed to investigate an illegal dumping into the city sewer system after Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) was found on Thursday.

Charlotte Mayor Patrick Cannon held a news conference Friday evening to announce the task force consisting of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department, Charlotte Fire, EPA, North Carolina Department of Protective Services and Charlotte-Meck Utilities.

On Thursday, Charlotte Fire HAZMAT responded to CMUD reports of an unusual substance flowing into the Mallard Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant on U.S. 29 North. 

“I want to let you know that anything coming out of your faucet is safe,” Cannon said.

The flow was contained in a holding tank until it was determined that it was safe to return the plant to service. Field testing is still being done, according to officials.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Utilities Director Barry Gullet said workers noticed an odd substance in the wastewater which was quickly moved into a storage section for further investigation at the plant.

Officials believe the chemicals entered the sewer system at a storm drain near Sugar Creek Road and Harris Boulevard.

A witness told police on Friday afternoon that two men in a red truck with plastic tanks dumped something in the same sewer drain where PCBs were found.

Charlotte City Manager Ron Carlee said the illegal dumping did not affect the city drinking water.

"We want to make one statement very clear right now, that this illegal chemical dumping incident that we are sharing with you this morning does not  affect the drinking water,"  he said.

Officials said they are continuing to run precautionary tests on the wastewater at the plant.

Carlee asked anyone living along Mallard Creek near U.S. 29 to be observant and report any issues with water or suspicious people at the creek.

"The County of Mecklenburg utility department did a full assessment to we have put the plant back online this morning, now that we have assurances that it is safe to do so," Carlee said.

"However we do want to caution people living along Mallard Creek, south of the plant especially in Cabarrus County to avoid human, or animal contact with water in the creek, until he do more testing."

Stay with WCNC.com as this story continues to develop.