Line break spills 3 million gallons of sewage in Kansas City

A sewer line in south Kansas City has spilled at least 3 million gallons of raw sewage into a tributary of the Blue River, Missouri officials said Tuesday.

Missouri Department of Natural Resources officials were on the scene Monday afternoon south of the former Bannister Mall and east of U.S. Highway 71. Later Monday, inspectors issued a notice of violation to the city.

Larry Archer, a DNR spokesman, said an old sewer line apparently reached its breaking point but was fixed late Monday.

The broken line was discovered on Friday, and a city worker called DNR’s regional office rather than DNR’s spill hotline, which is manned at all hours. The worker left a voicemail that DNR employees did not receive until noon Monday.

When DNR inspectors arrived at the scene, city workers were trying to stop the spill.

By then millions of gallons of sewage had poured down a stream that flows into the tributary into the Blue River. The river at that point is about a mile from Swope Park.

Archer said he did not know if the city had been working to fix the leak over the weekend but said DNR inspectors were trying to answer that question.

Colleen Doctorian, Kansas City Water Services spokeswoman, said the city should have a response by early afternoon.

DNR officials ordered the city to repair the leak and to take water samples in the tributary above and below the site of the release, and to also sample water in the Blue River. DNR environmental specialists also are independently taking samples.