Contact: Sam Brungardt, 651-757-2249
Duluth, Minn. ― The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) is continuing to conduct water sampling in Moosehead Lake and at the river access on the Moosehorn River near the city of Sturgeon Lake.
Local wastewater collection systems’ release of untreated wastewater is the cause for concern. Untreated sewage contains E. coli and fecal bacteria that can affect human health and cause gastrointestinal illness.
Water samples collected July 5 showed elevated bacteria levels only at the river access on the Moosehorn River near the city of Sturgeon Lake due to the release of untreated wastewater by Moose Lake’s flood-damaged wastewater treatment system.
The MPCA recommends that people should stay out of the river and Moosehead Lake until subsequent water sampling shows acceptable bacterial levels for human exposure.
People can call 218-302-6660 for a recorded message that gives the name of the waterbodies downstream of the failed wastewater treatment systems that are considered unsafe due to bacterial contamination and should be avoided.
Those with concerns about how to protect themselves after flood water contact should visit the Minnesota Department of Health’s MNBeaches.org website, which offers these suggestions:
- After a heavy rainfall, wait 24 hours before going swimming
- Don’t swallow beach water.
- Try to keep your face out of the water, or if possible, wear ear plugs and goggles.
- Shower after swimming or recreating at the beach.
- Do not go swimming if you are sick or you have a weakened immune system.
The MPCA will continue collecting water samples at the Moosehead Lake and the public river access near the city of Sturgeon Lake on Monday and Thursday for the foreseeable future. On the day after each collection, the MPCA will update its advisory at MNBeaches.org and the recorded message at 218-302-6660.