The Real-Life ‘Dawson’s Creek’ Got Flooded with Raw Sewage

Residents of Dawson’s Creek, North Carolina, don’t wanna wait for their lives to be over – they want to get the hell out of town before the pipe to the old sewage treatment plant explodes again and fills their town with crap. 

Last summer, the town – which has nothing to do with the fictional Capeside, save for a very unfortunate name – was inundated with 422,000 gallons of raw sewage, when lightning struck a pump along one of its main waterways.
It takes a while to recover from something like that – just like it took Pacey ages to rebound from his sordid affair with Tamara – and this week, a local writer finally got around to penning an essay about the harrowing ordeal.
Dawson’s Creek resident David Gessner wrote a piece for Salon about just what happens when 422,000 gallons of sewage threatens to engulf your town and its population of herons, eagles and ospreys. 

The essay is actually a pretty sad tale of a genteel waterside community that expanded too fast, with poor urban planning and an ageing sewer system leading to an ecological crisis.

In the days following the burst pipe, plants and bacteria of the swamp ate up most of the nitrogen and phosphorus that posed an immediate danger to fish and wildlife. 

However, as this process occurred, other fecal bacteria sunk to the murk at the bottom of the waterway, where they are waiting to be stirred up in years to come like a dark McPhee family secret.

“As populations and sea levels rise and salt corrodes and infiltrates pipes, sewage becomes an ever more pressing issue for coastal communities,” he said. “But legislators here have not just denied but hidden the reports of their scientists on rising seas.”

“Coastal resort towns like this one rely on selling an image,” he continued, “and it is understandable that we prefer the gloss of beauty to the ugliness of fact. But the work ahead means seeing beyond the gloss.”

Abby Morgan could tell you a few things about “seeing beyond the gloss” of Capeside society – if she hadn’t died in a drunken pier fall the night of the big party, that is. Oh Abby. I still miss you.