St. Paul, Minn. — Last night's and today's rain has overwhelmed the city of Mound's sanitary sewer system and forced the city to release untreated sewage onto land.
The city took this step to keep wastewater from backing up into the basements of an estimated 1,000 homes. It acted after the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) gave the city permission to bypass untreated sewage until the Metropolitan Council's wastewater collection system can accept the large volume of wastewater that is being sent to it.
About 10:30 a.m. today, the city began releasing untreated wastewater from its sanitary sewer system onto land at four sites near Lake Minnetonka, one site near Lake Langdon and one site near Dutch Lake. The locations near Lake Minnetonka are the lagoon at Emerald Road and Channel Lane, Beachside outfall at Shorewood, the Avalon Park outfall at Bartlett Boulevard and Lynwood at Morton Channel. On Lake Langdon, it is at Cottonwood and Lynwood. And on Dutch Lake, it is the Grandview boat launch.
The bypassed wastewater will eventually make its way to those lakes. Even though the untreated sewage will be greatly diluted, it will increase the lakes' load of E. coli bacteria, which can cause illness.
For the time being, people are advised not to swim or do other activities, such as water-skiing, that would increase the chances of their swallowing lake water. According to the Minnesota Department of Health website, E. coli can cause gastrointestinal illnesses, such as severe diarrhea, nausea and possibly jaundice as well as associated headaches and fatigue. Not all people are affected to the same degree; young children and the elderly are usually more susceptible.
For more information, visit the Minnesota Department of Health website.