‘Very large’ spill dumps sewage into Congaree River in Columbia, officials say

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Large volumes of raw sewage spilled into the Congaree River on Wednesday as crews from Columbia worked to contain leaks, according to a local river protection group.

Both the Richland County and Lexington County sides of the Congaree were affected by the sewage overflow, Columbia officials said.

Information on how much sewage overflowed into the river was not available, but the spill was called “VERY LARGE,” by the Congaree Riverkeeper.

A blockage in the force main likely caused the overflow of sanitary sewage entering the Congaree River, Columbia officials said.

The sewage overflow was confirmed by Columbia officials at 7:30 p.m. The first spill was reported near 100 Wheat St. in Richland County.

The river near the Blossom Street bridge and Founders Park, the University of South Carolina’s baseball stadium, had received some of the sewage, according to the Congaree Riverkeeper.

Spills also were reported on the Lexington County side of the Congaree River, along the Cayce and West Columbia riverwalks, the Riverkeeper said.

As of 2 a.m., all sewage spills overflowing into the river had stopped, according to Columbia officials.

Before getting the spills stopped, officials said they diverted the flow from the pump station to a gravity line to mitigate the overflow.

Because of the volume of the spills, a swimming advisory is being issued for the Congaree River from the confluence downstream to the Rosewood Landing, according to the Riverkeeper.

“People should avoid contact with the river in this area, and be cautious of any sewage along the riverwalks,” the Riverkeeper said.

This is a developing story, check back for updates.

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