3.7 million gallons of sewage leaked into Wisconsin River due to plugged pipe
WAUSAU - An estimated 3.7 million gallons of sewage leaked into the Wisconsin River when a sewer main on Wausau's southeast side was plugged, the city has determined.
The sewer main is on the north side of Sturgeon Eddy Road, near the intersection with Wisconsin Avenue. The city discovered sewage overflow Jan. 23 after responding to an odor complaint. Officials determined the next day that the pipe was plugged, not broken, and the system was back in order by that afternoon.
In a news release Monday, Public Works Director Eric Lindman said the overflow occurred through a safety bypass that exists in case of a backup in the pipe. As such, he said, the overflow was unavoidable to prevent wastewater from backing up into houses and causing a more direct health threat to residents.
Although 3.7 million gallons amounts to nearly six Olympic-size swimming pools worth of sewage, Lindman noted that the spill "represents a very small portion (1/2500th or 0.04%) of total river flow in that portion of the river for the overflow event."
Lindman previously told USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin that there were no public health concerns as a result of the incident.