How Contaminated Wastewater Escaped DIA

March 18 2010, 9:42 AM

Roughly one million gallons of raw sewage and wastewater flowed from Denver International Airport toward farmers' fields and a recreational lake thanks to a mechanical blunder that has left health officials scrambling. The water, emanating from an airport lift station, flowed into Third Creek, which, in turn, flows into an irrigation canal that eventually feeds Barr Lake, points out 7News. DIA officials notified the federal, state, and local officials and others, including a downstream farmer, after the spill was discovered on Wednesday, about 12 hours after it began. Tri-County Health Department's director of environmental health, Tom Butts, says the situation is being monitored, but the most aggressive response---damming or diverting Third Creek---has not been activated (via 9News). "A million gallons as not is big as it might sound," Butts says. "Any spill of this size is serious, but it's all relative.... The only risk would be to someone who went in the water in the creek."