City of Ithaca investigating chemical discharge into sewer system

December 2, 2013

The City of Ithaca announced on Sunday night that officials at the Waste Water Treatment Plant are looking into the source of "a significant volume and/or concentration of unknown cleaning solution, solvent, or other chemical" that was discharged into the public sewer system last weekend. 

Officials say they believe the chemical was released into the public sanitary sewer system for the City of Ithaca, Town of Ithaca, or Town of Dryden, probably via a drain in a residence or commercial building, or through a manhole cover. It's not clear whether the discharge was accidental or intentional, or whether the responsible parties were aware of the potential severity of the chemical's impact.

The chemical "was toxic to the microbes that are a key component of the treatment process," say city officials. "Judging from the level of disruption, the quantity discharged is likely to have been significant, far more than would normally be found in a residence."

The City is asking anyone with information that could help identify possible sources of the chemical discharge to contact Ed Gottlieb at the Ithaca Waste Water Treatment Plant at egottlieb@cityofithaca.org or 607-273-8381.

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