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Flooding rains Sunday night into early Monday washed out at least 2.5 miles of the Kanawha Falls Public Service District’s (PSD) sewage collection system, which serves the Mount Olive Correctional Center. This disruption has the potential to allow raw sewage to discharge directly into the river.
According to the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), the advisory covers 10 miles of the river from the correctional facility to the London Locks and Dam. It will remain in effect until further notice.
People should avoid water contact recreation activities in the affected area, such as swimming, fishing, water skiing and certain types of pleasure boating in smaller craft.
The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources (DHHR) said this does not affect drinking water and no boil water advisories have been issued at this time.
The Kanawha Falls PSD notified the DEP of the problem with the sewage collection system through the state’s Emergency Spill Line. The PSD’s upset provision allows discharge into waters of the state until the sewer line is repaired. Emergency measures are currently being implemented to restore some level of treatment as quickly as possible and local downstream water intakes have been notified.
The WVDEP, DHHR, the West Virginia Emergency Management Division, and the Kanawha Falls PSD are working together to identify any additional damage to the sewage system and determine a temporary solution. Major repairs to local infrastructure will need to be made before the sewer line is permanently replaced.
Portable toilets have been installed at the prison to minimize additional sewage.