Utility officials say up to 700,000 gallons of sewage spewed into the Mississippi River when a sewer pipe broke in Sauk Rapids on Wednesday.
The pipe broke around 2 a.m. and the city's utility department had to divert the sewage into the river in order to make repairs. Crews had the pipe fixed by 8 p.m. Wednesday.
Sauk Rapids is in central Minnesota, just upriver from the city of St. Cloud's water intake pipes. Utility officials there say the sewage appeared to be well-diluted, but the city increased treatment levels as precaution.
"As far as the chemistry goes, just really trying to force and really drive home some of the reactions so that we feel more comfortable that we don't have any issues or any bacteria or any increased organics; different things that can be in raw water and or sewage," said St. Cloud's assistant public utilities director Lisa Vollbrecht.
The incident was an accident and there won't be any fines, despite the large volume of sewage, said Steve Mikkelson, spokesman for the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency.
"It is a lot to go directly into the river," Mikkelson said.
"I'm told that the city officials with Sauk Rapids acted the best way they could to take care of the situation as fast as possible."