On Feb. 18, approximately 5,270 gallons of sewage spilled into Crystal Pond in Clarkston, killing many of the fish inhabiting the area.
DeKalb County CEO Michael Thurmond said he made a promise to residents in the area that the county would address and restore the area. On April 18, that promise was fully kept as county officials restocked the lake with nearly 1,600 fish including Bluegill, Black crappie, largemouth bass, redbreast sunfish and green sunfish.
Thurmond, along with city of Clarkston Mayor Ted Terry, held a press conference to ensure residents county workers were dedicated to correcting the issues related to the February spill.
“First of all, we apologize for the unfortunate situation that occurred here five to six weeks ago with the sewage spill. I apologize to the residents for any inconvenience they may have suffered,” Thurmond said. “We worked hard around the clock to clean up the sewage spill.”
The repair and restoration process took approximately 28 days, according to county officials. County workers cleaned sewer mains and completed visual inspections to assess and prevent future failures.
The county also said workers will continue routine cleaning every three months.
The spill was caused by an eight-inch sewer line blockage caused by grease and disposable diapers. Thurmond said the county is working on educating residents on the harm fats, oils and grease and other items can cause to sewer lines.
“Thank you for holding true to your commitment and cleaning up the lake in a timely fashion,” said Terry.
Terry said no fishing will be allowed in the area for two to three years while the fish procreate and restock the area.
“Cleaning up the spill and working in partnership with the county to make sure we keep the sewer lines clear and clean and we want to bring back Crystal Pond to its full glory,” Terry said.
According to the county, workers have completed $22 million in sewer maintenance and rehabilitation to address issues within the county’s sewer system.
The county also expanded the sewer cleaning efforts to include major trunk lines for the first time in more than 50 years, removing 5.1 tons of debris from the county’s sewer system.
“The spill was caused by baby diapers and baby wipes in our sewer system. When those get flushed into our sewer system it creates a blockage. [The blockage] created a negative environment situation in the lake and killed a lot of fish,” said Darren Eastall, DeKalb County consent decree administrator.
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