BARNUM, Minn. - Nearly three weeks after the big flood in the northland region, some residents are still being told to stay out of area water ways.
In Barnum, officials have been forced to pump untreated sewage into the Big Hanging Horn Lake after flood waters severely damaged the pumping station weeks ago.
The town is still waiting on parts to fix it from the South Dakota-based company, Dakota Pump and Control. The owner refused to comment Tuesday to explain the delay.
"It's not back to normal at all," said Karen Deutsch who lives on the lake.
She and other townspeople have been advised not to swim in the lake because of floating debris and the possibility of the water being contaminated.
"It's not really safe until everyone pulls all the docks and debris out," she said.
Still some aren't concerned.
"I live on the lake and I'm in it every day," said Betty Sandberg.
Sandberg is swimming in the lake. She's part of the lake association and says the group tested the water Sunday and expects to get back safe results in the coming weeks.
The state's Pollution Control Agency got back its own testing late Tuesday afternoon and it claims levels are now safe. A spokesperson expected the advisory to be lifted soon and does not believe there will be any long term problems.
Downstream in Moose Lake, its pumping station also suffered damage sending untreated sewage into the Moose Horn River, but that station is now up and running .
And about an hour northwest on Big Sandy Lake, authorities are advising people to not swim in the lake because of floating debris, but Aitkin County officials don't believe the water is contaminated.
Despite the inconvenience, Deutsch knows it could be worse with so many other people still cleaning up after Mother Nature.
"For me to say I haven't been able to jump in the lake is pretty minor," she said.
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