City of Florence sewage spilled into Jeffries Creek during storm

September 25, 2018

FLORENCE, S.C. – A volume of sewage from the city of Florence’s sanitation system entered Jeffries Creek during Hurricane Florence.

Michael Hemingway, the utilities director for the city, confirmed Monday afternoon that during the height of Hurricane Florence’s impact on the city, parts of the city’s sanitation system were underwater. When the system goes underwater, he said, water enters the sewage lines, in turn, causing sewage to enter the swamp and slowing service for residents as the system is full of water.

It is not uncommon, Hemingway added, during large weather events such as Hurricane Florence or Hurricane Matthew for sewage from the city’s system to enter the swamp.

A large amount of sewage might overwhelm the swamp, but a small amount of sewage provides additional organic matter for the organisms living in the swamp.

Normally, the city is able to work with the Department of Health and Environmental Control and the Environmental Protection Agency to avoid the negative consequences associated with a sewage leak, as the weather events are an act of God and beyond the city’s control.

Hemingway also said the city sometimes works to raise the level of its manholes when necessary to prevent water from entering the sanitation system.

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