January 15, 2013
HANOVER TWP. -- A 27-inch sewer main, which was slated to be replaced this year due to age, ruptured Sunday, causing raw sewage to flow into Solomon Creek.
State Department of Environmental Protection spokeswoman Colleen Connolly said the main burst occurred Sunday afternoon in Hanover Township at 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 for replacement this year because of its age.
A section of the creek bank also collapsed, Connolly said, though it was unclear whether the rupture caused it or it was caused by something else.
The creek eventually empties into the Susquehanna River, though whether the spill made it that far Monday wasn't known. The creek sustained a significant impact, and it will be up to nature to regenerate itself and clean itself up, Connolly said.
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 has 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, Hanover Township Manager John Sipper noted.
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 plant, where it's treated and processed.
A call to Luzerne County 911 about 2 p.m. Sunday first led to fire crews being dispatched, then the township road crew, then the township engineer and commissioners before an emergency declaration was made and local contractors were called out to work on the leak.
Sipper said pumping equipment was brought in from New Jersey – the closest location with available machinery – to help alleviate the leakage and bypass the damaged main, which was plugged at 1:30 a.m. Monday, Sipper said.