Up To 400,000 Gallons Of Waste Per Day Flowed Downstream
The city of Eau Claire is looking into what caused a sewer pipe to leak up to 400,000 gallons of sewage per day into the Chippewa River. Meanwhile, people are asked to stay out of the river until the repairs are complete. Last week, utility crews noticed a structure was dry when it was supposed to be receiving sewage from the other side of the river. The structure had gone dry because the pipe was letting sewage into the river. Eau Claire Utilities Administrator Jeff Pippenger said no one knew between 300,000 and 400,000 gallons of waste a day was pouring into the water. Pippenger said he wasn't sure how long the sewage was leaking. "It just didn’t show up and we didn’t see it either because it was discharging into the river," Pippenger said. "So, it had a perfect medium to just float away and nobody realized that there was an issue there." Pumps and hoses are now transferring the waste across a bridge and then to the city's wastewater treatment facility. The Eau Claire City-County Health Department has tested the water and no elevated levels of fecal coliform bacteria have been found. Pippenger said divers have inspected the broken pipe but there's no word yet on whether it can be repaired or if it must be replaced. The city hasn't estimated the cost of the fix, he said.