By Brenda Erdahl
It was business as usual for the Annandale-Maple Lake- Howard Lake Wastewater Commission Thursday, March 22 at its first meeting since a forcemain fitting failure leaked an estimated 6,210 gallons of untreated sewage into Ramsey Lake earlier this year.
Expecting a large turnout at the routine quarterly meeting to discuss the spill, commissioners first planned to hold the meeting in the larger Maple lake City Hall but moved it back to its regular site at the treatment plant when it became apparent the larger space would not be necessary.
To commissioners, the lack of attendance meant the spill, the first of its kind in the local wastewater facility’s history, was handled correctly.
“Evidently it was done right, because no one is here tonight,” Commissioner Roger Millner said.
The leak, which the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency prefer to call a “release,” happened in early February when a Ramsey Lake resident noticed a strong smell of sewage and a suspicious looking liquid flowing from a creek that normally carries storm water runoff into the lake.
The flow was immediately diverted, the problem fixed, and judged by the MPCA as having minimal impact on the lake. The MPCA issued no health advisories and has said there is no concern for public use of Ramsey Lake or the consumption of fish filets.
Commission Secretary Kelly Hinnenkamp reported Thursday that officials continue to take samples from the lake every week and that the commission will have to undergo an investigation, which is standard procedure.
In early March, the commission sent a letter to Ramsey Lake residents updating them on the clean-up process. It described how, by following strict MPCA protocol, they have removed top layers of ice from the location where the storm-water pond discharges into Ramsey Lake. To date, approximately 11,714 gallons of both untreated sewage and water runoff from natural drainage and snow melt have been removed and disposed.
“I commend Joe, you and your team and Kelly for all you did to stay on top of this,” Maple Lake Mayor Lynn Kissock said.
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