Grand Traverse Co. Health Department Monitoring Water Quality After Sewage Leak

Grand Traverse Co. Health Department Monitoring Water Quality After Sewage Leak

Traverse City was pounded by rain on Thursday, and conditions quickly turned from wet to treacherous.

Multiple streets were washed with several inches of standing water and buildings across Grand Traverse County flooded.

The rain and flash floods also triggered an infrastructure malfunction and sewage leak. The county health department says the flood triggered a pump malfunction which released untreated waste starting around 2 p.m.

By 11:30 p.m. when it stopped flowing, hundreds of thousands of gallons had been released through a manhole, into the Boardman River, and out to Grand Traverse Bay.

“When it happens in a short window of time the system gets overloaded,” said environmental health director Dan Thorell. “It was around a two inch rain, but we got two inches in like 20 minutes, you know?”

The intense rainfall also swept up anything and everything in its path, including waste, litter and debris.

“You’re picking up everything along the bank that’s not in the normal channel…bird droppings could be animal, pet waste on the ground,” said Thorell. “I think there’s a good chance that there’s going to be high e. coli levels.”

The Grand Traverse County Health Department has issued a no-body-contact advisory for the Boardman River, Grand Traverse Bay, and the following beaches.

Friday, the department says they will be taking water samples of the area. They say the problem will clear up in a few days as long as we don’t receive more rain.