LAS VEGAS (KLAS) A sewage plant near a creek that feeds Lake Mead that 8 News Now Investigators alerted officials about in 2021 after a 500,000-gallon spill has failed again this time releasing nearly 900,000 gallons.

Whitney Lift Station is the largest in the Clark County Water Reclamation District. In 2020, the facility, which sits at a low point in the southeastern Las Vegas Valley near Sam Boyd Stadium, went bankrupt. The breakdown caused an estimated half-million gallons of wastewater to be released, some of which ended up in a creek that feeds Lake Mead.


On Thursday, June 1, equipment at the station failed, causing more than 863,000 gallons of untreated wastewater to overflow, according to documents obtained Tuesday by 8 News Now investigators.

The crews recovered nearly 300,000 gallons of raw waste, leaving about 600,000 gallons to go into the creek or seep into the ground, according to the documents.

The 2020 spill was attributed to a corroded underground pipe. Crews captured about 300,000 gallons of raw sewage, sucking it up with special vacuum cleaners. The rest is filtered into the ground. An estimated 10,000 gallons leaked into the creek.

Half a million liters is almost enough to fill an Olympic swimming pool. The Reclamation District handles 100 million gallons a day.

The District Board of Governors, which is the same body as the Clark County Commission, has approved a multi-million dollar rehabilitation project for the lift station. In 2021, the board described the station as the largest and most critical lift station in our service area in terms of capacity, location, hydraulic engineering requirements and necessary operational efficiencies.

On Thursday, June 1, 2023, equipment at the station failed, causing more than 863,000 gallons of untreated wastewater to overflow, according to documents News Now’s 8 investigators obtained Tuesday. (KLAS)

At the time, the trust staff wrote, the Whitney lift station experienced frequent outages due to equipment failures and line blockages that put the 22-year-old facility at high risk of sanitary sewer overflows.

The 8 News Now Investigators 2021 report focused on why a lift station, which had a major breakdown, was located near the creek. The current lift station replaced the first Whitney lift station, which was brought online in the 1970s. The current station was built around 2000.

The Clark County Water Reclamation District’s largest lift station, a facility that pumps raw sewage from neighborhoods to a treatment plant, went bankrupt in 2020, spilling about half a million gallons of wastewater, some of which is end up in a creek that feeds Lake Mead. (KLAS)

This is where it is needed. This is how the areas have been developed, CCWRD general counsel David Stoft said at the time. As sewage collects, it must use gravity to drain. Whether we like it or not, we are dealing with a situation where a lift station needs to be here.

Crews appeared to be hard at work removing dirt and sewage-laden debris from the area on Tuesday. It was unclear on Tuesday the exact number of raw sewage that entered the creek, thereby entering the Lake Mead water system.

A Southern Nevada Health District spokesman said they were aware of the spill.

I’m monitoring the situation and working closely with stakeholders on the ground, Democratic Rep. Dina Titus tweeted on Tuesday, citing the 8 News Now Investigators report. We must ensure that the citizens of Southern Nevada have access to water quality as well as quantity.

The District Board of Governors, which is the same body as the Clark County Commission, has approved a multi-million dollar rehabilitation project for the lift station. (KLAS)

The Clark County Water Quality Program, which would fine the district, reports to the district. Program offices are also in district headquarters.

It was unclear whether the Nevada Department of Environmental Protection had fined the remediation district for the 2020 spill. In mid-2022, an NDEP spokesperson said the agency had yet to decide.

The district asked 8 News Now not to identify the exact location of the lift stations, citing national security laws.

A spokesman for the reclamation district declined to comment on Tuesday but said he would provide more information soon.

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