COLUMBIA — Heavy rain may be the answer to the sewage problem in Cedar Lake, said Tom Ratermann, a board member of the Boone County Regional Sewer District.
The heavy rain in the next few days is expected to “flush out” the remaining contaminants in the lake from the sewer overflow on Friday afternoon, Ratermann said.
The district posted signs Saturday to warn residents of Rock Bridge Estates of the contaminated water in Cedar Lake. As of now, posting the cautionary signs is the only action that has been taken in regard to the untreated sewer water.
Ratermann said the threat to public health likely isn’t too significant due to the time of the year. The lake is used for recreational purposes and not for drinking, but it is still advised that residents and pets not come in contact with the water.
The Missouri Department of Natural Resources is still waiting for the results of water samples taken on Friday and Saturday, but the lake is believed to contain bacteria that could cause disease. Although bacteria is present in the water, it usually isn’t able to survive long because of weather conditions.
A manhole behind 365 Catherine Drive is suspected to have been overflowing for about a day before it was discovered by the district and stopped. Ratermann said once the overflow was found, correcting the problem was routine.
Debris, especially grease, was the cause of the sewer overflow. Residents and businesses are advised not to flush any grease or debris down toilets, sinks or garbage disposals in order to prevent blockage.
Residents found the response and measures taken from the appropriate agencies to be adequate, said Peter Kokoula, a board member on the Cedar Lake Homeowners’ Association. “They are upset about it happening but understand these things happen,” he said.
The water will be sampled again soon and again in the spring to help maintain the water and to spot further problems.