Wake County

Big Garner sewage spill blamed on grease, wipes, vandalism

A combination of grease, flushed wipes and vandalism caused a sewage spill on the north side of Garner that went undetected for more than eight days, according to the City of Raleigh Public Utilities Department.

The spill, near homes at the end of Randell Road, resulted in an estimated 181,920 gallons of untreated sewage going into an unnamed tributary of Little Arm Branch Creek before it was discovered Tuesday.

A utilities customer reported the spill at 2:45 p.m., and crews had it stopped by 7:20 p.m. Cleanup isn’t expected to be completed until Friday afternoon.

Raleigh utilities officials have long urged people not to flush anything down their toilets except human waste and toilet paper, putting the city at odds with companies that claim their wipes are “flushable.” City officials, backed by other utility groups around the country, say even wipes that are designed to be flushed down the toilet don’t break down fast enough to prevent them from gumming up the sewage system.

Richard Stradling: 919-829-4739, @RStradling