The bad and the good


There is always something good to come out of what is bad.

Locally, anytime there is a sewage spill from the town’s wastewater treatment facility it is bad news.

The weekend before last, Mount Olive’s troubled sewer plant experienced its first spill since early May. The recent spill dumped more than 272,000 gallons of raw sewage into the nearby headwaters of the Northeast Cape Fear River.

The spill lasted nine hours.

Each spill has to be reported to state environmental folks and it does not make them happy.

It is bad news for everyone and is the very reason the state issued a moratorium that prohibits the town from taking on any development — commercial or residential.

The town has been in full combat on a daily basis to bring this issue under control.

A total of 5.25 inches of rain quickly overwhelmed the plant’s intake capabilities and while 272,000 gallons is a major spill, it could have been much, much worse.

Town Manager Jammie Royall said that normally such a downpour would have caused a spill that would have continued for two days.

He said the big difference clearly shows that the town’s focus on inflow and infiltration problems is working.

“It is a bad way to find out if what we are doing is working, but it sends us a signal that what we are doing is taking us in the right direction,” Royall said.

He also said state authorities have told him the town’s efforts are in the right direction.

This is good news from a bad situation.

The town manager told me his plans are to keep hammering away and working toward getting the moratorium lifted.

The very future of this town depends on it, because we are poised for an explosion of growth.

Providing the needed infrastructure of water and sewer, and other services are critical to that growth.

Town officials make it clear it is their concern and we hope they will continue to give the town manager all the ammunition he needs to get this issue solved.

William Holloman is a staff writer for the Mount Olive Tribune. He can be reached at


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