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TWO HARBORS - Sewage spills in Two Harbors have led to hefty fines for the city.
Nearly 150,000 gallons of sewage spilled into Skunk Creek in Two Harbors over the last six months.
There were two spills and they happened at the same location.
"They discovered it was a release from their lift station, their sewage lift station, the main one in town," said Minnesota Pollution Control Agency Water Quality Specialist John Thomas.
Both spills were caused by power outages so the city wasn't alerted and not able to respond.
"The power outage actually disabled the city's alarm system, the notification system that should notify staff that the power has gone out so they can respond," said Thomas.
The MPCA also found another violation.
The Two Harbors facility doesn't meet mercury effluent limits.
Because of that, the city is being fined $19,000 by the MPCA."They were supposed to achieve very low concentration of mercury and their treated effluent at that time through installation of some pretty extensive technology, extensive and expensive, and they had not done that," said Thomas.
The city is required to take steps to prevent future spills including closing other sewage bypass locations, assessing all lift stations and making sure emergency procedures are in place and installing mercury-removal technology."And that's a very expensive project, over $3.5 million, of which the city will be paying at least $1.8 million on their own without grant money," said Thomas.
Despite the high cost, these actions need to be finished in the next two months.
We were in Two Harbors today looking into the situation, but when we reached out to the city they declined to comment.