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Blasting leads to sewer spill into Alcovy

LAWRENCEVILLE - Sticks and stones may break your bones, but they can also cause a sewer spill.

That's what happened Tuesday when a land developer accidentally pushed rock into an open manhole near Lawrenceville while removing blasting debris.

The debris clogged the underground pipe, sending 46,000 gallons of raw sewage into the Alcovy River, according to a report released Wednesday by the county Public Utilities Department.

Public Utilities learned of the overflow near Winder Highway and Cedars Road about 5 p.m. Tuesday and stopped the release by turning off a pump station.

Metropolitan Land Development was doing the blasting so it could hook up its new subdivision, Garden Gate, to the county sewer system, Public Utilities Deputy Director Hazel McMullin said.

"They were blasting rock so they could tie into a sewer main, and during the excavation process rock was inadvertently dumped into a manhole," McMullin said.

The manhole cover had been removed by workers so they could monitor the blasting, McMullin said.

She said the county is making Metropolitan Land Development remove the rocks, and the company must pay for any repairs and pick up the tab for any fines the state may levy against the county.

The state classifies as "major" any spill involving more than 10,000 gallons of raw sewage.

The pipe east of the county seat was still clogged Wednesday afternoon.