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UPDATE: Hundreds of gallons of sewage flow into Center Lake

Posted at 1:58 PM, Jan 06, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-07 05:12:39-05

LANSING, Mich. — Leoni Township is cleaning out a sewer main on Monday after it caused an overflow of raw wastewater to pour into Michigan Center Lake.

400 gallons of sewage water spilled into the lake because of a plugged line.

Fox 47 spoke with residents who live right on the water and say they knew something was up when the lake smelled and looked different.

"I first realized something was going on when I could smell the sewage and that kind of gave me a heads up that something was off," said Val Toops, who lives near Center Lake.

And if the scent didn't give Center Lake residents a red flag, water coming up from the manhole sure did.

"Water was coming out like this high out of the holes of the sewer like a fountain," said Theresa Dancer, a Center Lake resident.

Some residents say they even saw a difference in color because of the sewage spill.

"Yesterday I really noticed it and I kept noticing it all day long," recalled Kim Altenbernt.

The lakeside neighbors may have noticed the sewer spill differently, but they all had the same concern.

"This is water we use," said Toops.

"We swim in this water," said Altenbernt.

"That's the main concern, what's it doing to the water and to us," asked Dancer.

The Leoni Township supervisor tells News 10 raw wastewater spilled from a sewer manhole at 4 p.m. Sunday afternoon.

The overflow was due to a plugged sewer mainline

After about 40 minutes, the line was unplugged, but 400 gallons of sewage water still managed to get into Michigan Center Lake.

But the Jackson County Health Department and clean up crew says residents should not be concerned.

"That small of an amount in that big of a lake and the cold temperatures and the lack of human contact in January with the water, didn't seem to represent a health concern," said Blair Selover, the F&V Operations and Resource Management Manager.

Crews were out Monday cleaning out the entire downstream line to make sure obstruction that blocked the line and caused the overflow, is removed.

"They are out now making sure that obstruction didn't lodge itself somewhere upstream," said Selover.

Crews have not found what exactly plugged the sewer mainline. However, they do ask residents to be aware of what they put down the drain, household objects are typically the cause of a blockage this size.

Coliform bacteria tests were conducted at Center Lake to see if the water is a danger to the public.

Those results will be available on Tuesday.

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