Last weeks heavy rains unleashed a torrent of sewage spills across eastern North Carolina

Officials with a local environmental group say a massive sewage spill in Havelock just over a week ago is a step back for a city working to resolve ongoing pollution.

Neuse River Warden Samantha Krop said there is an urgent need for investment in infrastructure, operator training and staff capacity, because nearly 600,000 gallons of wastewater should not spill from the Havelock treatment facility into Slocum Creek after a inch of rain.

Another 6,000 gallons were also released from a culvert in Joe's Branch, a small tributary of Slocum Creek, and Sound Rivers collected water samples there for E. coli testing, which came back well above the recommended limit for fecal bacteria.

The nearly 600,000-gallon spill at the wastewater treatment facility in Havelock is considered the largest in the city's history, surpassing the 500,000-gallon spill at the same site in January.

Last week's significant rainfall in eastern North Carolina triggered a torrent of sewage spills throughout the region and not just in Havelock.

About 200,000 gallons of wastewater flowed from a culvert in Rocky Mount to the adjacent stormwater drain, which flows directly into the Tar River.

Last year, 1.3 million gallons of sewage spilled in five separate incidents, and Sound Rivers Pamlico-Tar Riverkeeper Katey Zimmerman anticipated it would happen again.

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

The spill was reported to the North Carolina Department of Quality and officials collected water samples for fecal coliform testing.

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