Havelock reports two sewage spills, third and fourth of 2024

HAVELOCK, N.C. (WITN) – for the third and fourth time this year The City of Havelock has reported a sewage spill.

On Saturday, March 2nd, The City of Havelock says that it had two sewage spills totaling almost 600,000 gallons of wastewater.

Officials said that the first spill came a manhole in the 200 block of Pine Street when 6000 gallons of sewage spilled form the manhole and entered into surface waters at Joe’s Branch.

Officials said the second spill occurred at the wastewater treatment plant on Jackson Drive, where 585,000 gallons of sewage spilled from the denitrification filter basins. According to officials, 250,000 gallons of that spill got into the marsh behind the plant, which is close to the bank of the East Prong of Slocum Creek.

Officials said that both spills were caused sudden, heavy rain on March 2nd.

The City of Havelock held a meeting on February 20th to discuss the recurring sewage spills and poor water quality in general.

City officials and environmental nonprofit Sound Rivers teamed up at the meeting to address the current sewage spill issues with residents as well as those concerned about the waterways at Slocum Creek.

Reports of sewage spills in the city have been recurring in the last few years, with the most recent two bringing the total to four so far in 2024 alone.

Thousands of gallons have spilled near homes and headed towards portions of Slocum Creek, which Havelock Mayor Will Lewis recognized is alarming.

“A lot of the pipes in the ground are more than 60 years old so sometimes you don’t even know what’s there,” Lewis said at the meeting. “We’ve got more bypass pumps. we’re constantly trying to avoid any types of issues with our lines.”

Spills have impacted the west and east prongs of Slocum Creek. After a sewage spill last summer, human fecal coliform was found in the west prong of the creek according to Samantha Krop with Sound Rivers..

The city said at the meeting that they are now working with the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality and Sound Rivers to identify the source of pollution in the west prong of Slocum Creek and the source behind the sewage spills.

“Slocum Creek is near and dear to my heart,” said concerned resident, Jim Reilly. “I’m pleasantly surprised to see the level of effort that the city of Havelock is putting into taking care of our public resource.”

Krop told those at the meeting that she believed the city was doing everything it could to fix the crisis.

“The city is undergoing a very long process to do that, but with progress, there’s always setbacks,” Krop said. “Until the entire overhaul is complete, we’ll continue to see issues with the city’s sewage infrastructure.”