Untreated sewage flowed into a Montgomery County creek Wednesday after a sewer pipe burst in Brookeville, a spokeswoman for the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission said.
By 11 a.m. Wednesday, WSSC officials estimated that 200,000 gallons of untreated sewage had flowed into Reddy Branch Creek, said WSSC spokeswoman Lyn Riggins. The creek ultimately flows into the Patuxent River, she said.
The break did not affect the safety of drinking water, Riggins said, because the water and sewer systems are separate.
The broken 16-inch pressurized main was discovered around 6:30 p.m. Tuesday after a resident walking his dog noticed the ground was unusually saturated. WSSC crews working at a nearby sewage pumping station found the break in woods near the 200 block of Market Street in Brookeville, Riggins said. The broken pipe was a few hundred feet from the Reddy Branch Wastewater Pumping Station on Brighton Dam Road, Riggins said.
The pumping station was shut down to relieve pressure on the pipe while repairs are made, Riggins said. Septic tank trunks are hauling away as much overflow as possible to reduce the amount flowing into the creek, she said.
WSSC, like many other U.S. utilities, is under a federal court agreement to reduce the number of sewage overflows into creeks. WSSC officials said they notified the Maryland Department of the Environment and the Montgomery County Department of Environmental Protection.