Memphis dumping its wastewater into the Mississippi River
MEMPHIS, Tenn. - A series of very unfortunate events prompted the city of Memphis, Tennessee, to pump wastewater into a fast-moving, southern-flowing Mississippi River.
High water caused a pump failure at a city treatment plant, officials said Friday. A backup pump is running but it won't be able to handle the volume alone because of the level of the Mississippi River, Memphis-area TV station WREG reported on its website. Whatever wastewater the pump can't handle will have to be dumped into the river.
Baton Rouge is about 500 miles downriver from Memphis. It was not immediately clear what, if any, impact the wastewater dump would have on the water flowing through downtown Baton Rouge.
The Memphis newspaper reported the city notified the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation.
"There's no doubt that we're going to be in violation of our (pollution-discharge) permit," Public Works Director Robert Knecht said. The newspaper labeled the discharge “raw sewage.”
It will take a few days to correct the problems, Knecht said.
In 2016, the city of Memphis was fined more than $500,000 for a similar system failure that discharged untreated waste into other waterways.
Louisiana health officials did not respond to a request for comment. This story will be updated when one is received.
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