Why did the sewage cross the road? It heard that “living is a vacation” on the other side.
An estimated 1,000 gallons of raw sewage flowed southward across Indian Lake Rd. – which is the Oxford/Orion border – on April 3 due to a “plugged sewer,” according to an email from Zach Earp, of the Oakland County Water Resources Commissioner’s Office (WRC).
In his communication, Earp informed local officials that a sanitary sewer overflow occurred at the northeast corner of M-24 and Indian Lake Rd. in Oxford Township. He indicated it was noticed at 10 a.m. and stopped by 10:45 a.m.
The overflow “impacted the area around the manhole, flowed south across Indian Lake Rd. and into a small detention pond located at the southeast corner of M-24 and Indian Lake Rd. within Orion Township,” Earp wrote.
According to the incident report submitted to the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ), the overflow was “entirely contained” within the detention pond.
“It’s been cleaned up,” said Ben Lewis, a manager at the WRC. “In the areas on the ground where the spill had occurred, I believe they spread some lime.”
According to the report for the MDEQ, the cause of the overflow was a “sewer plugged with grease.”
Lewis explained “there are a couple of sags in the line that goes under M-24” and these spots are where grease can collect and build up over time, causing a plug.
“We’ve never had that problem (with this pipe) in the past,” he noted. “Apparently, it’s built up over time. We don’t know how long it took.”
The line was cleared and to “make sure that (this) doesn’t happen again,” Lewis said it will be added to the WRC’s “frequently clean” list.
“We’ll clean it four times a year,” he explained. “It doesn’t take them very long (to do it).”
For now, the WRC prefers to handle the issue this way as opposed to a fix involving construction work.
“We’re not going to dig up M-24 unless we absolutely have to,” Lewis said.
He indicated the WRC has “many communities” with lines on the frequently clean list.
The WRC recommends that fats, oils and grease produced from food preparation, packaged foods and food scraps should never be dumped down any sink drain.
Fats, oils and grease can stick to the inside of sewer pipes, harden and build up over time causing blockages that result in sanitary sewer overflows.
These substances should always be disposed of via the trash, so they can break down in landfills over time, according to the WRC.