Processing Magazine

Biosolids spill into Michigan lake after power outage

August 26, 2014

A power failure at a pump station in Michigan on Wednesday afternoon led to almost 200 gallons of biosolids spilling into the northern end of Boardman Lake.

The biosolids -- a waste product from the sewage treatment process -- were released from Traverse City Regional Sewage Treatment Facility when the electricity that powers a primary pump station failed, according to the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality.

The Grand Traverse County Health Department advised the public to avoid any body contact with the waters in the north end of Boardman Lake, in the Lower Boardman River from the sewage treatment facility to the mouth of Grand Traverse Bay, and in the beach areas from Clinch Park to Bryant Park.

Tests showed a Level 4 water quality index, resulting in the recommendation against all body contact with the water. At Acme Bayside Park the water quality was found to be Level 2, leading to an advisory against contact with the water above the waist.

Drinking water in the local area remains unaffected because Traverse City's drinking water comes from East Grand Traverse Bay.

The state Department of Environmental Quality is working with public health officials and the regional sewage treatment facility to ensure that the spill is managed appropriately.

Regular testing of the affected waters will be carried out until normal readings are obtained.