Riverkeeper tracks Rocky Mount spill site

Environmental, Sanitary Sewer Overflows, Sound Rivers, Stormwater Issues, Stormwater Runoff, Tar-Pamlico Watershed, Water Quality

Posted on March 7th, 2024

Wastewater flows from a manhole on Albemarle Avenue in Rocky Mount.

This week’s significant rainfall in eastern North Carolina unleashed a torrent of sewage spills across the region.

Albemarle Avenue in Rocky Mount was the site of one of those spills, with an estimated 200,000 gallons of sewage making its way from a manhole to the adjacent stormwater drain. The stormwater drain flows directly into the Tar River.

Since the location is known for spills (1.3 million gallons in five separate incidents recorded in 2023), and Sound Rivers investigated another spill earlier this year, Pamlico-Tar Riverkeeper Katey Zimmerman anticipated it would happen again.

The Tar River runs high with runoff at the park where the stormwater outfall is located.

“I predicted it would be happening because of the rain we got yesterday,” Katey said. “The spill started last night at around 7:30, and it was still happening as of late morning.”

Katey called it in to the North Carolina Department of Quality and was told the city had reported the spill and is collecting water samples to test for fecal coliform. NCDEQ is also working with the city to do a GIS survey of all of Rocky Mount’s sewer infrastructure.

Watch the video of the wastewater’s direct route from manhole to stormwater drain that goes directly to the Tar River!

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