About 5.25 million gallons of partially treated waste water has spilled into the Cape Fear River after a local waste treatment plant lost power and two backup generators failed due to mechanical problems.
The Cape Fear Public Utility Authority said the accident happened Friday at the Southside Wastewater Treatment Plant, just south of Wilmington.
The spill began at 4:30 a.m. and ended at 7 p.m., spilling about half the volume of untreated water the plant processes daily. Last month the plant treated an average of 9.5 million gallons a day, said Peg Hall Williams, spokeswoman for the agency.
The waste water had gone through all treatment cycles except the second clarifier and disinfectant, Williams said.
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Waste water treatment removes pollutants and disease-causing organisms from water that comes in from homes and businesses.
This is a developing story.