PANAMA CITY Fla. (WMBB) — A mechanical failure at the Millville Wastewater Treatment Plant caused quite the mess for the Panama City utilities team earlier today.
The failure occurred at about 9:30 Wednesday morning, leading to around 160 thousand gallons of raw sewage being spilled into Watson Bayou.
Panama City City Manager Mark McQueen said the city is still working to find out what exactly caused this failure.
“It appears that the teeth on the screen bar were broken because of foreign objects that have been placed into our sewer system damaged those teeth and as a result it created a backlog of forgien material and matter,” McQueen said.
The spill is now contained and the plant is up and running but only on a temporary basis.
“So we are fully operational now and we are on a manual system at this point,” McQueen said. “So we are operating quickly and efficiently and it is a temporary measure until we can get the permanent repairs to the screen bar as well as the filter pump.”
He said he’s not sure how long the repairs will take or how much they will cost.
McQueen said this situation is another example of infrastructure issues within the city.
He said the Millvillve Wastewater Treatment Plant is 72 years old and lacks up to date technology. But the city is working toward securing a grant that will help solve this issue.
McQueen said the state legislature just approved $1.5 million dollars to help the city do a study about how to relocate the plant to a place that makes more sense.
“Once DEP awards those dollars that the legislature has approved we will be able to begin that study for the long term solution of eventually closing down the Millville Wastewater Treatment Plant decommissioning it and moving that capability and product to another location,” McQueen said.
He said they have also started getting in money through State Revolving Fund loans that will go toward the redesign of the water and sewer lines in the city.
He said this situation does not affect the everyday lives of residents in the area. But the health department has issued a no swim notice so he says to keep an eye on that before swimming in the Watson Bayou.