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More than 850,000 gallons of sewage spills in east valley

Updated June 7, 2023 - 5:07 pm

A leak at a wastewater pumping station in the east valley caused more than 850,000 gallons of sewage to spill out of a manhole last week, and some of it ended up in a wash that leads to Lake Mead.

Of the 863,625 gallons that leaked out of the Whitney Lift Pumping Station near Sam Boyd Stadium on June 1, about 281,500 gallons had been recovered as of Saturday through the use of several specialized vacuum trucks, a backhoe and a loader, according to a spill report filed with the Nevada Division of Environmental Protection.

About 57,500 gallons of sewage ended up in Duck Creek Wash, which eventually connects to the Las Vegas Wash on the way to Lake Mead.

Clark County Water Reclamation District spokeswoman Kimberly Adler said in an email that the spill had “no impact to public health or the environment.”

The leak started around 9 a.m. on June 1 immediately after district employees had completed maintenance work on the lift station, Adler said. An investigation showed that the leak was caused by a valve that was left partially closed.

The spill went undetected for roughly two days before reclamation district crews responded to the site on Saturday. Adler said the delay was “primarily due to the fact that the exact location of the spill occurred outside of the perimeter of the lift station itself and outside the view of District staff.”

The Whitney Lift station pumps more than 4 million gallons a day on average, with the capacity to pump 15 million gallons a day.

This was the second significant leak at the Whitney Lift station since 2020. The district is working on a $40 million project to replace the station, with work on that project expected to start by the end of the year, Adler said.

“Although sanitary sewer overflows do occur while operating a sanitary sewer system, they are never acceptable to the District who remains committed to ensuring a safe and reliable wastewater collection and treatment system for unincorporated Clark County,” Adler said.

The Clark County Water Reclamation District processes about 100 million gallons of wastewater each day, or about slightly more than half of the valley’s total wastewater.

According to officials at the Nevada Division of Environmental Protection, the state is investigating the issue. If found liable for the spill, the water reclamation district could be fined by the state.

Contact Colton Lochhead at clochhead@reviewjournal.com. Follow @ColtonLochhead on Twitter.

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