WILKES-BARRE -- A 27-inch sewage main, which was slated to be replaced this year due to age, ruptured Sunday causing raw sewage to flow freely into Solomon Creek.
Department of Environmental Protection spokeswoman Colleen Connolly said the main rupture occurred Sunday afternoon in Hanover Township right on the border with the Goose Island section of Wilkes-Barre near where Schuler and Covell streets meet.
The main is owned and maintained by Hanover Township and Connolly said crews worked into early Monday morning to plug the leak and bypass lines to help correct the issue.
Connolly said the age of the main -- it’s more than 20 years old -- and the weather could have been a factor but the cause has not been determined, yet. She also noted that that section of main was slated to be replaced this year because of its age.
A section of the creek bank also collapsed, Connolly said.
The creek eventually empties into the Susquehanna River, though whether it’s made it that far wasn’t known. She said the creek sustained a significant impact and it will be up to Mother Nature to “regenerate itself and clean itself up.”
She said the immediate issue wasn’t “a matter of cleaning it up. It was a matter of getting the leak repaired.” Now that that’s happened, the DEP and township engineer can ascertain the damage and cause and set out on fixing the damage.
The bid to replace 100 feet of the terra cotta main was on Hanover Township’s agenda Monday night and was on it before the rupture happened “as ironic as it is,” noted Hanover Township Manager John Sipper.
He said the sewage originated in Wilkes-Barre Township and runs through sewer lines into Hanover Township on its way to the Wyoming Valley Sanitary Authority where it’s treated and processed.
Local contractors were called out Sunday and pumping equipment was brought in from New Jersey to help alleviate the spill and bypass the damaged main.
Connolly said no calls have been received about an odor and no complaints have been filed about sewage backing up into people's homes.