Authorities say about 5,000 gallons of sewage spilled into a Minnesota lake


STEELE COUNTY, Minn– Beaver Lake remains closed after what is believed to be a septic system fail. The entire Beaver Lake County Park is closed as well, including the beach, park and shelter.

Steele County officials said five thousand gallons of sewage has been spilled into Beaver Lake near Ellendale. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (PCA) are working to remove all surface contamination and figure out the source. As of Sunday, about 35 hundred gallons of lake water and contamination had been removed.

David Johnson of Ellendale said he was on a pontoon with friends Friday evening on Beaver Lake, when he noticed all sorts of items in the water.

“Disgusting, said Johnson. “Toilet paper, condoms, all sorts of stuff out here.”

Erik Olson said he spends every summer at Beaver Lake for a family reunion. He said he ‘s shocked to learn that sewage has spilled into the water.

“It smells really awful, terrible,” said Olson. “There’s definitely more brown algae floating to the top.”

Olson’s aunt Patty Lundberg Bray said their family spends most of their time by the lake, but now, they’re looking for another option. “It’s going to be a long term as far as we know now. It’s going to be 24 hours, that they’ll be working on this.”

Johnson said he thinks cleaning the lake could take up to six months. “We just don’t know, it’s going to take a long time. I mean, they started over there, around 9 o’clock this morning, and they haven’t got very far, and they got all this to do yet, so it’s going to take a while.”

The PCA collected samples at the lake Sunday that were sent out for testing. Officials said that will help determine whether they’re dealing with human or animal contamination. The results are expected back by mid-week.

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