Marsh Creek Spill Update: Sewage Spill Timeline

Wednesday, August 2nd

  • A twelve inch PVC discharge pipe failed at the Marsh Creek pumping station. The City was notified by an alarm and responded to set up a temporary bypass to the main plant without discharging any untreated sewage to the environment.

Thursday, August 3rd

  • The City contracts with a company to provide a more permanent bypass solution so the discharge pipe within the pump station could be repaired.
Marsh Creek and Wastewater Treatment Plant pipes into Lakefront Park

Friday, August 4th

  • 6:30am (approximately) -Before the contractors could set up a permanent bypass, workers at the plant discovered that the temporary bypass system failed, causing the pump station to fill and the manhole outside the pump station to overflow and spill an estimated 5,000 gallons of untreated sewage into Marsh Creek. The issue was corrected within the hour. An 8” bypass pump was installed alongside the original 6” bypass pump, providing the ability to handle all normal flows as well as higher flows that may occur from any significant rain events. Permanent repairs are planned.
  • 7:02am – A NY-Alert report was completed and sent out at 7:02am
  • 8:30am – The DEC was notified of the spill by the City of Geneva via telephone.
  • 9:44amFingerlakes1.com reports on the spill in an article titled “DEC: Untreated sewage leaking into Marsh Creek after Geneva pipe failure,” the only local news media to report on the incident until Sunday.
  • 6:08pm – Geneva Believer posts the article “5,000 Gallons of Sewage Spills into Ward 6’s Marsh Creek.”

The City of Geneva did not issue any safety warnings on Friday August 4 2017 via social media, local news media or their website regarding any potential hazards for people and pets along Marsh Creek and Lakefront Park.


Saturday, August 5th

The City of Geneva did not issue any safety warnings on Saturday August 5 2017 via social media, local news media or their website regarding any potential hazards for people and pets along Marsh Creek and Lakefront Park.


Sunday, August 6th

  • Morning – the Finger Lakes Times publishes a front page report from Steve Buchiere titled “Untreated sewage flows into city creek,” marking the first time that any city officials had publicly commented on the Marsh Creek spill. The article contains no safety warnings.
  • 3:27pm – Seneca Lake State Park announces on their Facebook page that swimming at Seneca Lake State Park would be prohibited until further notice. A short while later, the State Park also states that a water sample from their beach was sent to the lab for analysis, with results expected to be posted on the NYS Parks website on Tuesday, August 8th at 10:00am.
  • 10:30pm – Geneva Believer obtains a message which had been sent to City Council members on the morning of Friday, August 4th. The message twice refers to the untreated sewage as “untreated water.” Geneva Believer posts the article “Marsh Creek Update: Pump Station Failed 2 Days Before Spill.”

The City of Geneva did not issue any safety warnings on Sunday August 6 2017 via social media, local news media or their website regarding any potential hazards for people and pets along Marsh Creek and Lakefront Park.


Monday, August 7th

The City of Geneva did not issue any safety warnings on Monday August 7 2017 via social media, local news media or their website regarding any potential hazards for people and pets along Marsh Creek and Lakefront Park.


Tuesday, August 8th

  • – Morning – The Finger Lakes Times publishes a front page article titled “Sewage release results in beach closure at Seneca Lake State Park.” City Manager Matt Horn confirms the Wednesday August 2 pump station failure that preceded the spill, as reported two days prior on Geneva Believer. The story also reports that Horn “doubted the estimated 5,000 gallons of untreated sewage would have a big effect on such a deep lake,” that “the typical lake water current tends to take city wastewater discharges toward the Seneca-Cayuga Canal, with is east of Seneca Lake Park’s Beach,” and that “water testing by the state would be prudent to ensure the safety of swimmers.
  • 10:00am (approximately) – The swimming ban at Seneca Lake State Park is been lifted. Test results show e coli levels of 133 per 100 mil, which falls below the state standard of 235 per 100 mil. However, the e coli level at Seneca Lake State Park on this date is currently the highest of all state parks (the second-highest reading was 77 per 100 mil).

The City of Geneva did not issue any safety warnings on Tuesday via social media, local news media or their website regarding any potential hazards for people and pets along Marsh Creek and Lakefront Park.


Believe!

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