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429 million gallons of sewage spill into Grand River

7:31 PM, Apr 26, 2013   |    comments
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  • Kent County Health Department officials test bacteria levels in the flooded Grand River. (April 25, 2013)
  • Kent County Health Department officials test bacteria levels in the flooded Grand River. (April 25, 2013)
    

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WZZM/AP) -- Grand Rapids says recent flooding sent 429 million gallons of partially treated sewage into the Grand River. The overflows occurred at retention basins where wastewater doesn't get a complete treatment.

West Michigan Environmental Action Council spokesman Dan Schoonmaker says it wasn't raw sewage. He says there were worse threats to the environment during intense rain and floods in the Grand Rapids region.

Thursday the Kent County Health Department tested the water at several sites along the Grand River. Test results released Friday afternoon show lower than expected levels of E. coli in the water. However, experts need three more days of test results before they can consider the water to be safe.

As a result, a no-contact advisory for the Grand River remains in effect throughout Kent County until further notice.

The Grand River dropped below flood stage Thursday. About 1,700 people have been evacuated in Kent County.

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