Two recent spills of untreated wastewater into a Havelock waterway indicate the city’s sewer problems are yet to be resolved.
On Jan. 15, 20,000 gallons of wastewater, of which 13,700 were cleaned up, spilled into the southwest part of Slocum Creek. Last weekend, another spill happened, though the amount of sewage is unknown, said Neuse Riverkeeper Samantha Krop.
According to Robert Tankard, assistant regional supervisor with North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality’s Division of Water Resources, the latest spills were caused by system malfunctions, and are not related to the sewer infrastructure issues that have plagued the city for several years.
Since 2015, the City of Havelock has struggled with heavy rain and its results: sewage spills.
In 2019, the city entered into a Special Order by Consent agreement with the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality, and has a deadline of Jan. 1, 2024, to resolve a list of infrastructure issues.
Slocum Creek is a popular recreational site, and one of more than 50 sites tested weekly for Sound Rivers’ Swim Guide program. Last summer, 67% of samples taken at Slocum Creek failed to meet recreational water-quality standards for enterococci. In 2021, the fail rate was 64%.
When untreated human waste enters waterways, the influx of bacteria can pose threats to recreational users, while excessive nutrients can contribute to fish kills.