Sewage leak discovered; facade collapses at York City wastewater treatment plant

Logan Hullinger
York Dispatch
A collapsed facade of a digester building located at York City's wastewater treatment plant.

York City officials and outside engineers are investigating a sewage leak that was discovered at the city's wastewater treatment plant on Saturday.

The leak coming from digesters at the plant appears to have coincided with the collapse of a facade on the digester building. The leak was fixed Saturday, officials said.

The facade is "not structurally significant" to the containment of sewage, but for years it has been noted to be in bad shape, York City Mayor Michael Helfrich said.

“The (state Department of Environmental Protection) and (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency) have done multiple inspections of the plant, and this surface issue has never been of grave concern,” Helfrich said.

More:Board approves sale of York City wastewater system; now back to council

It is unclear if the sewage leak and collapse of the facade are related, as nobody witnessed the collapse, Helfrich said. But it is clear the collapse is not what caused the sewage leak.

Any connection between the two incidents will likely be known after the city and engineers at Buchart Horn Inc. conclude their investigations, which will also include how much sewage leaked and other details.

A collapsed facade of a digester building located at York City's wastewater treatment plant.

According to a statement from city officials, wastewater personnel discovered the leak early Saturday and "took immediate actions to mitigate it."

The DEP has also been notified, according to the statement.

"The City and other parties, including engineers, are working diligently to investigate the cause and develop appropriate actions in response," the statement read.

York City is in the process of selling the entire wastewater treatment system in a $235 million deal with Pennsylvania American Water Co.

The York City Sewer Authority Board last week approved the asset purchase agreement in a 3-1 vote, but the agreement isn't final until the City Council votes to transfer the responsibilities of owning the system from the authority to the city and until the state Public Utility Commission completes a review of the proposed deal.

Helfrich said Saturday's leak will not impact the deal.

— Logan Hullinger can be reached at lhullinger@yorkdispatch.com or via Twitter at @LoganHullYD.