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Another Rainy Sunday Morning--Another Sewage Spill in Airmont
South Monsey Road, Airmont, October 9 early Sunday morning
I got a call late Saturday night (Oct 8) from Airmont resident Dave Snyder. He said the manhole on South Monsey Road near Christmas Hill Road had erupted again and was spilling sewage into the street. When I got there, Dave told me that the Ramapo Police had responded to a call about the manhole, and they had called the County Highway Department. There were sawhorses set up on either side of the overflowing manhole.
The secondary cap of the sewer opening was visible for a while and then disappeared as the overflow filled the cap and spilled onto the roadway and flowed toward the railroad tracks. Photo one and two above show these two conditions. The manhole cover was about eight feet away up on the bank on the roadside. These covers weigh about a hundred pounds, and neither the police nor the highway crew attempted to replace it.
The next morning when I went back, Dave told me a Rockland County Sewer District crew had come out and replaced the cover at around 3:15 am. One of the sewer workers told Dave that when two or three of the force main pumps kick in at the same time, the system can't handle it in heavy rainfall situations and the trunk sewer manhole overflows.
The fourth photo shows the damage to the roadway around the manhole, and the last shows the lime spread by workers the next morning to control whatever contagious elements may have been spilled onto the area surrounding the sewer.
This kind of spill has been happening with greater frequency at the South Monsey Road location with little more done than the remedial action taken by RCSD #1 this Sunday morning. The sewage spills into the streets and streams nearby, and the crews come out to replace the manhole cover and spread lime. The last event at this site was on April 3, 2005 when an estimated 4,500 gallons of raw sewage spilled into adjacent watercourses which feed the Saddle River.
Someone has to take aggressive corrective action for this problem in Airmont and elsewhere in Ramapo. It's only a matter of time before one of these incidents creates a public health disaster. And the Supervisor and his board have to open their eyes and acknowledge the warnings given to them by the Sewer Commission that high-density growth is adding more stress on the sewer system than it was designed to handle.
UPDATE: Wednesday Oct 12, about 8:30 in the evening, the cover was still in place as a geyser lifted up a foot or foot-and-a-half from the edges of the manhole. The volume of the spill was considerable as it flowed eastward onto the railroad tracks.
December 16: At the same location as the October spill, manhole cover #10019 spews raw sewage onto the street and railroad bed. (Photos above)
January 18: Same manhole (#10019), but the spill this time continued to pour sewage onto the street for four continuous hours. Two samples were taken and the analysis for the first will be published shortly here on our website.