Sewage Discharge to Drainage Ditches along Maryland Route 33 (St. Michaels Road) and Maryland Route 329 (Royal Oak Road)
May 5, 2023
ST.MICHAELS, MD—On Thursday, May 4, 2023, at approximately 2:00 p.m., the Talbot County Sanitary District (Sanitary District) found a leak at the Royal Oak Pump Station, located at the northern intersection of Maryland Route 33 (St. Michaels Road) and Maryland Route 329 (Royal Oak Road) during normal inspections of the Pump Station.
This pump station was inspected earlier in the morning, and there was no leak seen. Shortly after finding the leak around 2:00 p.m., personnel from the Sanitary District located raw sewage in the drainage ditch along Royal Oak Road and determined the leak was coming from a pipe on the discharge end of the pump station that pumps wastewater to the Region II Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP) located just outside St. Michaels.
With wastewater flowing down Royal Oak Road, personnel from the Sanitary District used sandbags to dam up the drainage ditch along roadway. Sandbags were placed about 300 feet from the intersection of Royal Oak Road and St. Michaels Road. Additional sandbags were placed on the other side of Royal Oak Road that heads towards St. Michaels along Maryland Route 33 to contain the spill. To pond up the wastewater, sandbags were placed approximately 150 feet from the intersection of Royal Oak Road and St. Michaels Road.
As efforts were underway in placing sandbags, staff contacted CHT Excavating, a licensed liquid wastewater hauler, and Brummell Septic Service, also a licensed liquid wastewater hauler, to aid with the cleanup of the untreated wastewater as well as managing flows at the Royal Oak Pump Station and at the site. CHT Excavating managed the wastewater flows entering the Royal Oak Pump Station by loading their tankers and then transporting the wastewater to the Region II WWTP for treatment. Brummell Septic Service was on site to assist with clean-up.
Staff estimated that approximately 7,000 gallons of untreated wastewater were discharged from the sanitary sewer force main exiting the Royal Oak Pump Station with approximately 1,800 gallons of untreated wastewater being collected from the roadside drainage ditches. After the wastewater was collected from the ditches, personnel from the Sanitary District placed lime in the areas that were impacted by the spill.
It was determined that the spill was due to a failed coupling on the discharge end of the Royal Oak Pump Station. At 3:00 p.m., Retallack and Sons started excavating the soil in the vicinity of the leak. The coupling was replaced, and the Royal Oak Pump Station was put back into operation around 7:30 p.m. The impacted area in the vicinity of the leak was stabilized with lime.
The sewage discharge was immediately reported to the Maryland Department of the Environment. An Environmental Health representative visited the site and confirmed the discharge of untreated sewage from the force main to the roadside drainage ditches as noted above.
The investigation of the discharge indicated that sewage did not reach navigable or shellfish harvesting waters of the State of Maryland. Based on this fact as well as the ability of the grasses and soils located within the drainage way to filter and attenuate the wastewater, the Office of Environmental Health determined that there was low to minimal impact to the public health and the environment.
If the public has any questions regarding the public health determination they may contact Anne Morse, Director of Environmental Health at 410-770-6880 Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
If the public has questions regarding the discharge or the corrective action that was taken they may contact Ray Clarke, County Engineer, at 410-770-8170.
Page last modified Friday, May 26, 2023 11:19:07 AM