Las Vegas Sun

October 17, 2021

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Huge sewage spill blamed on flash flood

Clark County Sanitation District officials estimate 350,000 gallons of raw sewage leaked from a broken pipe during a recent flash flood.

It's the worst case of a wastewater pipe cracking and allowing untreated sewage to spill about a mile from Las Vegas Wash, said Marty Flynn, sanitation district spokesman.

A chunk of roadway southeast of Russell Road and Hollywood Boulevard collapsed and cracked the pipe during a rampaging summer storm on Aug. 10.

It's up to the Nevada Division of Environmental Protection to determine whether the county will have to pay a fine, said the division's assistant director, Allan Biaggi, said.

The state had to wait for the county to estimate how much sewage could leak from the broken pipeline, since it is not known how long the crack existed.

If the state determines that the county could have prevented the spill, there could be a penalty.

The county notified the state at the time the leak was discovered and tried to disinfect the sewage before it reached the wash, Biaggi said.

It's not the first time the county has faced sanctions from the state in the past year. In April an estimated 5,000 gallons of raw sewage spilled into an area near the wash from a pipeline near Russell Road and Boulder Highway.

Sanitation district workers built a horseshoe-shaped dike, about 100 feet long and 20 feet wide, that contained sewage at 8 feet deep.

Last year the state issued the sanitation district three notices of violation for raw sewage spilled into the wash.

In one case, a Las Vegas construction company severed an 18-inch wastewater line at Nevada and Dodd streets, sending up to 440,000 gallons of untreated sewage into Duck Creek. The company paid a $12,500 fine.