Raw sewage spills out by I-94 Tuesday; water still safe

JACKSON, MI (WLNS) – About 60,000 gallons of raw sewage spilled in Blackman Township near I-94 in a field between Doney and Maynard Roads.  The cause was from a blockage of grease in a 15-inch diameter gravity sewer beneath the highway.  After the sewer spill, the authorities were notified including the Jackson County Health Department.

“It discharged into the Grand River very close to where the waste water treatment plant is located for the city of Jackson, as well as its surrounding areas including Blackman Township,” said Jackson County Health Department Environmental Health Director Don Hayduk.

The discharge lasted two days ending Tuesday.  Authorities cleaned up the waste.  According to Hayduk, strangely it might have some beneficial value.

Hayduk said, “it was essentially in a fallow field in an uninhabited area, with very little access to the public.  From that point of view, nothing is going to be of long term consequence.  In actuality there will be some nutrient value added to the soil.”

Health officials believe the situation was alleviated by the weather.  Hayduk says the rainy weather will wash away anything affecting humans.  There can still be a health risk if comes in contact with raw sewage.

“There are pathogens in raw sewage.  Viruses…bacteria…that can carry some disease,” said Hayduk.

The Jackson County Health Department does have a notification system in place when something goes wrong with the water system.  Right now, further tests are being conducted on the water.  Nobody has fallen ill to the sewage discharge.

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