Memphis, Tenn. (localmemphis.com) - Remember Maynard G. Krebs? You've rolled up some miles on the old odometer of life if you remember the beatnik on the old TV show Dobie Gillis. He never liked work.
Sort of like the pumps at the Maynard C. Stiles Treatment plant in Memphis.
The flooding Mississippi River put all of the pumps out of service last week. It resulted in raw sewage pumped not only in the Mississippi river, but puddles of it surrounded and threatened nearby DeWitt Spain Airport.
So the city did the only thing it could do, let untreated sewage pour into the Mississippi River.
Public Works Director Robert Knecht says, “We notified the state and explained to them the circumstances and we had no other alternative, we had to protect the property, protect our health and safety as well, and pump that into the river.”
The odor of raw sewage is unmistakable.
It still hangs in the air near DeWitt Spain Airport.
Consider millions, hundreds of millions of gallons of this putrid slop pouring into the most important river in the country.
“I've heard some estimates,” Knecht says, "... we probably have been moving around 75 million gallons per day for the last two days. So roughly 150, 200-million gallons of water has been discharged into the Mississippi River.”
There is no reported fish kill from the waste. One well motor is now operating. Crews are working on repairing the other pumps.
The plant is now limping along better than it was doing last week, but not nearly good enough.
And it’s all because of nature, Robert Knecht says, all because of all this flood water.
“If it wasn't for the high river,” he says, “... this wouldn't even be an issue.”
Knecht says they are hoping to have everything fixed and back in working order by the end of the week.