Not flushing correctly? People warned from any contact with stretch of river after problems at Mississippi sewage plant

Published 5:16 pm Monday, January 4, 2021

The discharge of “minimally-treated” sewage into the Mississippi River has forced officials in two states to warn residents of any contact with a 1-mile stretch of the river.

On Dec. 28, 2020, the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality warned that people and pets should avoid contact with Mississippi River water in an area near Greenville until further notice.

The no-contact advisory issued by MDEQ was followed by a similar warning from the Arkansas Department of Health on Monday.

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Both agencies recommended that people avoid activities such as swimming, wading and fishing. People are warned not to eat or handle fish or anything else taken from the river.

Operational issues have plagued the Greenville wastewater treatment plant since Nov. 2019, when MDEQ first issued an advisory. At the time MDEQ said it was working with “the city and the Environmental Protection Agency to address ongoing wastewater collection and treatment issues.”

MDEQ said in its December advisory that the city has scheduled repair work for its wastewater treatment system beginning on Dec. 28, 2020, and continuing into February 2021. The repair work will result in a planned discharge of minimally treated wastewater into the river during that time.