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Officials: 70,000 gallons of sewage spilled into Clinton River during repairs

Posted at 4:19 PM, Feb 13, 2018
and last updated 2018-02-13 16:19:09-05

Clinton Township officials say human error is the reason tens of thousands of gallons of sewage made its way into the Clinton River.

Clinton Township officials say they are serious about keeping the river clean. They say the problem started when a contractor was working on a sewer project.

Mary Bednar is the Director of Public Services.

"They were in making repairs and the repairs took too long and so the sewer that they had plugged had backed up and tripped the overflow pump that we are actually trying to eliminate," she said.

Township officials say it took less than an hour for 70,000 gallons of sewage to discharge, making its way to the Clinton River and eventually Lake St. Clair.

This happened Friday afternoon.

Mary Bednar says Clinton Township is spending $23 million to make repairs so something like this won't happen. They've been building relief sewers and eliminating pump stations.

While Township officials say this was a small amount of sewage, they say keeping the river clean is a top priority.

"The Clinton River runs through our township. All three branches of the river actually come together within 500 feet of each other, so we really take it seriously."  

Officials say it's ironic that this happened at a pump station near 15 Mile and Gratiot, as they continue to work on eliminating those pumps to ensure something like this won't happen again.

As for the sewage, they said there isn't much they can do at this point other than to continue with preventive efforts.