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Sanitary Sewer Overflow Caused by Contractor Operations Fail

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Archived News Release: February 23, 2021 - ​Mid morning on Monday, Feb. 22, 2021, a contractor for the city working on a sanitary sewer relining project, experienced a by-pass pumping failure. This failure caused a release of an estimated 10,000 gallons of sanitary sewage onto South Main Street, which ran down the gutter into a storm drain, ultimately reaching Allen Creek and the Huron River. 

The by-pass operation was being done to divert the sanitary sewer while the contractor cleaned the sewer main in advance of lining the pipe. The pump was shut off as soon as possible after the pipe failed. South Main Street was temporarily closed so that City of Ann Arbor Public Works staff and the contractor could clean up the resulting spill. The lining project is suspended while the incident is investigated in order to make sure the contractor has adequate safety and contingency measures in place to safely resume work. All costs to the city associated with this incident will be charged to the contractor.

In accordance with regulatory protocols, City of Ann Arbor staff notified the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy. 

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Contact Information

Jennifer Lawson
Water Quality Manager
734.794.6000 x43735
[email protected]


Ann Arbor has 119,000 residents, spans 28.9 square miles and is frequently recognized as a foremost place to live, learn, work, thrive and visit. To keep up with City of Ann Arbor information, subscribe for email updates, follow us on Twitter or become a city fan on Facebook. The city's mission is to deliver exceptional services that sustain and enhance a vibrant, safe and diverse community.

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