GRU fined $292 after nearly 600K gallons of raw sewage spill into Loblolly Nature Park

A sign warns people about sewage spilled at Loblolly Nature Park. Josslyn Howard/WGFL

The Alachua County Environmental Protection Department has fined GRU $292 after more than 600,000 gallons of raw sewage was released into Loblolly Nature Park last week.

The department says a GRU contractor cut into a main sewage line, causing 150,000 gallons to spill. The situation was made worse when officials say a car later hit a hose filled with sewage, causing nearly another half-million of gallons of sewage to leak into the wetland.

The agency fined the utility $146 each for the two incidents, said Alachua County Environmental Protection Director Chris Bird.

“Bottom line is we don’t want raw sewage going into our urban creeks so, we do fine them," Bird said. "Hopefully this is somewhat of a deterrent to make whoever caused the spill to look at what they can do next time to prevent this.”

GRU told CBS News 4 that about 250,000 gallons of wastewater has been removed from the site so far. The utility says they're monitoring the water quality in the creeks and recent test results show the water quality is recovering.

The park was reopened today.

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