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Mississippi River Sewage Leak Stopped

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(credit: CBS) Holly Wagner
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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — No wading, no swimming and no fishing — authorities want people to stay out of a four-mile stretch of the Mississippi River.

A leaking sewage pipe along the river bank had been sending 500 to a 1,000 gallons of waste into the river per minute on Thursday afternoon. The two pipes go from Fridley to the Metro Wastewater Treatment Plant in St. Paul, authorities said.

Gina Nawrocki and her 8-year-old son, Will, live a couple houses down from where crews are repairing the pipe in Fridley.

Nawrocki and other neighbors think it may have been leaking for a while. It’s not yet clear how much sewage leaked into the water overall.

“There’s been an odor for a couple of weeks,” she said. “On a day like today, when the wind is coming from the west, so we would end up closing the windows.”

Crews got wind of the problem Thursday night after someone complained about the smell.

The leak is fixed, but the repair could take a while.

The Metropolitan Council is testing the water for bacteria, and in the meantime, it has posted warning signs along the river — just north of Fridley to Minneapolis.

Nawrocki and her son have no plans of getting out on the river any time soon.

“Some of our neighbors kayak and we do kayak,” she said. “Dogs jump in the river sometimes. When you look at it that way, that’s gross… I would stay away from it for a while.”

A spokesperson said because the water is high, the sewage should dissipate quickly in the river.

Crews will be keeping an eye on bacteria levels through the weekend and will let people know when it’s safe to fish and swim.

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