Home > With Flood-Damaged Pumps, Untreated Sewage Flows into Moose Lake River
With Flood-Damaged Pumps, Untreated Sewage Flows into Moose Lake River
FOX 21 News, KQDS-DT
Thursday, July 5, 2012 - 6:34pm
Moose Lake, MN
MOOSE LAKE - It is not all that odd to see water flowing from a sewage plant, but for those in Moose Lake, it is going in the wrong direction.
"The sewer lift station is still not operational," Moose Lake City Administrator Mark Vahlsing said.
Flood waters fried the main station's pumps, meaning the sewage is not moving west to its treatment ponds, but is instead going directly east into the Moosehorn River.
It is not a pretty situation but the city administrator said it is better than the alternative.
"Otherwise the sewage would just back up in people's homes and it would just be terrible," Vahlsing said.
The sewage that is flowing into the river has been sifted down to a liquid state, but other than that, it is untreated.
However, most of the people FOX 21 spoke with Thursday who live down the river were not overly concerned.
Paul Olson lives two miles down river from the list station and said he is playing it safe.
"We don't use the river for swimming or fishing we haven't been in there at all so we're just letting it be," Olson said.
Since his water well is up hill and far away, he says waiting is something he can handle.
"I really think that a natural disaster like this will right itself with time," Olson said.
But, time is already hurting businesses like campgrounds in town and down the river.
"People can go out on the lake, they just can't swim," Vahlsing said.
The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency said people should not swim in the lake or the river in town because they can be exposed to E. coli and fecal bacteria.
Water samples collected in the area have shown elevated levels.
"We're trying to do what we can," Vahlsing said. "A lot of this is just out of our control right now."
But on Thursday, repaired pumps were back in town and were expected to be up and running within a day or two.
Luckily, the old pumps were repairable: a piece of good news that will save the city from buying new ones at an additional cost of more than $50,000.
"We're just trying to deal with it as fast as we can and get things back to normal," Vahlsing said.
It is not your typical problem, but Moose Lake- like many cities in the Northland- has another ugly cleanup courtesy of the flood.