Christmas Eve isn’t the time anyone should have to worry about a wastewater spill, but that’s exactly what High Point Public Services officials had on their hands on Monday, Dec. 24.

On Monday afternoon, the city released a statement notifying residents that Whites Mill Lift Station, at 4001 Tesa Court in High Point, had spilled 5,500 gallons of wastewater into Oak Hollow Lake, which feeds into the Deep River.

Jolie Helton, a communications specialist for the city, wrote in an email that the spill occurred at 4 a.m. on Christmas Eve.

Wastewater is any water that’s been “used” for any purpose – affected by human or animal activity – and there’s currently no specific information available about the wastewater in this incident other than it was being pumped through the Whites Mill station.

Wastewater systems use lift stations to move wastewater more commonly called sewage from lower elevations to higher ones, and this spill resulted from a failure in that process. According to the statement, “The wastewater spill was determined to be caused by rags in the lift station pump.”

According to the statement sent out by the city, the NC Division of Water Quality was notified of the event on Monday and is currently “reviewing the matter.”

A state law, adopted in1999, requires that municipalities, animal operations, industries and other entities that operate waste handling systems issue a news release anytime there’s a waste spill of 1,000 gallons or more that reaches a body of water.