CAMBRIDGE, Minn. - A sewage backup at the Cambridge Wastewater Treatment Facility has resulted in an estimated 20,000 gallons of raw sewage being spilled into the Rum River.
A news release from the City of Cambridge says plant staff was notified just after 6:30 p.m. Monday that a liquid believed to be sewage was seen spewing from a manhole cover and flowing into the river. A boater on the Rum River was the person who called dispatchers.
Patrick Crandall lives near the river and he said he went to check it out Monday night and saw the sewage seeping into the water from a manhole that was overflowing at the top of the bank.
"There were people that just tubed down it right before I got there. I don't think that they knew there was sewage in there," Crandall said Tuesday morning.
An employee traced the sewage back to a backed-up 14-inch sewer main that flows into the waste treatment plant. The Cambridge Waste Water Treatment Plant is currently under construction, and investigators will attempt to determine whether the work had anything to do with the backup and spill. Officials at the plant ordered the replacement of temporary sewage pumps, which appeared to clear the clogged line and fix the problem.
Todd Schwab is the director of utilities for the city of Cambridge and he said that the issue was reported to his agency last night.
When asked if it was possible that the sewage had been leaking for longer than just one day, he couldn't say for certain.
"I don't know how long it's been running. The pumping records didn't indicate an issue and I walked that area last week and I know it wasn't running over then," Schwab said.
The raw sewage spill, estimated at 20,000 gallons, was reported to the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency.
Schwab says the water is safe for all recreation.