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DeKalb County restocking Clarkston lake with fish following sewage spill clean up

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DeKalb County restocking Clarkston lake with fish following sewage spill clean up

FILE PHOTO DeKalb Watershed Management employees on the scene of a sewage spill in Clarkston. Photo provided by Tracy Bishop
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DeKalb Watershed Management employees on the scene of a sewage spill in Clarkston. Photo provided by Tracy Bishop

This story has been updated. 

A sewage spill that polluted a lake in Clarkston in February killed more than 1,000 fish.

The county says it is replacing those fish today, April 18.

“DeKalb County CEO Michael Thurmond, Department of Watershed Management and city leaders will restock Crystal Pond in Clarkston with more than 1,600 fish,” a press release from the county says. “CEO Thurmond committed to fully restocking the lake after the Feb. 18 sewer spill caused by a blockage of grease, disposable diapers and wipes in an eight-inch sewer line. Remediation and restoration efforts were completed in 28 days and the county is focused on completing additional assessments and repairs to prevent future spills.”

The spill occurred in a manhole along Cleavemark Drive and made its way to a lake near Millam Park. The spill volume was estimated at roughly 5,300 gallons.

The county said residents can do their part to keep grease out of the sewer lines. Residents are encouraged to put cooled grease in a sealed container and throw it in the trash. The county says residents should scrape food from plates and cookware and should wipe excess grease from all dishes with a paper towel before washing.

Following the restocking event, the county issued this press release:

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Clarkston Shores Association board member Cathy Burroughs, DeKalb CEO Michael Thurmond and Clarkston Mayor Ted Terry help restocking of Crystal Pond. Photo provided by DeKalb County

DECATUR, Ga.—DeKalb County CEO Michael Thurmond, Department of Watershed Management and City of Clarkston leaders restocked Crystal Pond in Clarkston with more than 1,600 fish today.

CEO Thurmond committed to fully restocking the pond after a Feb. 18 sewer spill, caused by a blockage of grease, disposable diapers and wipes, resulted in fish loss.

Immediately after the incident, the county began a 28-day restoration project that included cleaning nearby sewer mains, removing debris and water testing. The county will continue proactive efforts in this location to prevent future spills, including routine sewer main cleanings every three months and thorough assessments to make needed infrastructure repairs in six months.

“The Clarkston Shores Association is deeply indebted to DeKalb County CEO Michael Thurmond, who with the tremendous dedicated support of county staff, helped to restore our Clarkston community and beautiful lake,” said Cathy Burroughs, Clarkston Shores Association board member. “We are very grateful that the CEO has followed through on his commitment to replenish the upper lake, and we value our partnership with the county and the City of Clarkston on this effort.”

“DeKalb has taken concrete steps to restore the Clarkston lake area,” CEO Thurmond said. “The county is committed to protecting the environment, increasing citizen education about preventing sewer spills and enhancing transparency with the public.”

Approximately 60 percent of sanitary sewer overflows in DeKalb County are caused by fats, oils and grease (FOG) being poured down sink drains. In 2017, the county relaunched a community education program to help change behavior and increase FOG awareness by conducting 280 public events and distributing more than 60,000 flyers after grease-related spills.

The county partnered with the City of Clarkston, the Clarkston Shores Association and the Georgia Department of Natural Resources to share regular updates about the restoration project.

This year, the county will invest $79 million for significant sewer maintenance and repairs that will begin in June. These major projects will focus on reducing sanitary sewer overflows and will extend rehabilitation work through 2020.  In addition to infrastructure improvements, the county has hired more staff to proactively report, locate and respond to spills to protect the environment and reduce future spills.

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