A South Bend official says a wastewater treatment plant worker’s error sent at least 10,000 gallons of partially treated sludge into the St. Joseph River.
City Utilities Director Al Greek says the error caused a sludge holding tank to overflow on July 22, spilling an estimated 1 million gallons inside the plant boundaries. He tells the South Bend Tribune that employees were able to clean up all but the 10,000 gallons before it spilled into the river.
Greek says heavy rains that night and an ongoing $13 million construction project at the plant contributed to the spill. But he says it’s an accident that shouldn’t have happened and was caused by operator error.
State environmental regulators are working with the city to prevent other spills at the wastewater treatment plant.