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Posted on Fri, Aug 30, 2013 : 2:59 p.m.

Raw sewage spills into Huron River in Nichols Arboretum after sewer pipe clogs

By Ryan J. Stanton

A clogged sewer pipe in Nichols Arboretum caused an undetermined amount of raw sewage to flow into the Huron River, Ann Arbor officials said on Friday.

The city was notified by the University of Michigan on Thursday afternoon of reports of a "sewer odor" and "some gray pooled water" in the Arb, city officials said.


Kayakers make their way down the Huron River earlier this month. Because raw sewage reached the river this week, the city took the precaution of closing canoe livery trips in the vicinity — from Argo to Gallup — on Thursday and through Friday.

Ryan J. Stanton |

Upon investigation, it was determined a sewer pipe was clogged and discharging raw sewage water to the ground surface, flowing overland, and ultimately entering the river.

"We actually were out there immediately to take care of it," said Jennifer Lawson, the city's water quality manager.

Lawson said the city found out about the problem around 3 p.m. Thursday, but it's unknown how long it had been going on.

"Visible flow was observed yesterday," she said, adding the water made its way to the surface through a manhole cover in a grassy, wooded area where people don't normally go.

The area of the Arb where there are stone steps leading out to the river is where the sewage entered the river, she said, though the water came from a manhole about 30 yards south of there.

About 5:45 p.m. Thursday, the city's field crews began jetting the line from the downstream manhole, and within a few minutes a blockage was relieved, city officials said.

After that, the water stopped flowing to the surface. Tree roots were identified as the cause of the blockage.

While on site Thursday, the city's field staff learned from joggers and other users of the Arb that the area has smelled for about the last week, Lawson said.

She said no one ever called the city to complain about the problem, though, as some just assumed it was either a dead animal or rotting vegetation.

"We don't know when it started," she said. "We don't know what the duration of the overflow was — if it was one day or 10 days."

The sewage that flowed into the river was on its way to the city's wastewater treatment plant and included toilet water, though there were no visible solids, Lawson said. She said the grayish water was leaking out of the manhole at about half the speed of a garden hose.

The city has applied a lime product to the affected ground area to kill any remaining bacteria. It appears as a white, powdery substance.

Because the sewage reached the river, the city took the precaution of closing canoe livery trips in the vicinity — from Argo to Gallup — on Thursday and through Friday.

Body contact is not recommended for at least 24 hours after a known release of raw sewage to waterways, city officials said.

The city has completed testing and plans to evaluate water quality samples over the next 24 hours for presence of harmful bacteria in the river.

The determination whether to resume canoe livery operations between Argo and Geddes will be made at 8 a.m. Saturday, based on water sampling results.

"At this point, we're monitoring to make sure the water quality is safe, but that test takes 24 hours to do," Lawson said.

In accordance with regulatory protocols, city officials said they contacted the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality to inform the state of the incident.

Lawson said the city will be coordinating with the Arboretum on any plant restoration that's needed, as there was some damage to surrounding vegetation.

An estimated 10,000 gallons of raw sewage spilled into the Huron River during a June 27 storm that quickly flooded Ann Arbor streets and knocked out power.

Ryan J. Stanton covers government and politics for Reach him at or 734-623-2529. You also can follow him on Twitter or subscribe to's email newsletters.


Lake Trout

Wed, Sep 4, 2013 : 6:53 p.m.

Mmmm Yummy and people swim in this water. Hey people why do you think it is called the "Urine" River, hmmmm?

fed up 22

Sun, Sep 1, 2013 : 9:58 p.m.

It is obvious by most comments (and comments about the small overflow at the Waste Water Treatment plant during the flooding event in June) that very few commenters have any concept of the volume of flow of the Huron river or of the total volume of the flow to the waste water treatment plant. Sewer flow rates are measured in Millions of Gallons per day (Millions with a capitol M). The flow of the river is many orders of magnitude more than that. The amount of contamination that went into the river from this incident would be the equivalent of dropping one grain of sand into an Olympic sized swimming pool. Same for the 10,000 gal from the WWTP in June.

Becky H

Sun, Sep 1, 2013 : 7:23 p.m.

Oh, gross.

Mary F

Sun, Sep 1, 2013 : 1:58 a.m.

For the first time in 20 years I went kayaking down the Huron River...leaving Barton Pond area at about 2:30p and getting into Gallup about 5:30p. So, the river wasn't closed to boaters by any means on Thursday. The bit about canoe livery trips being canceled on Thursday is inaccurate. If only my bad timing of being in the wrong place at the wrong time could swing the other way with a big lottery winning!!!


Sat, Aug 31, 2013 : 8:08 p.m.

Skate parks and public art. Glad to see the city has its priorities straight while sewage is discharged into the river and potholes are unfilled all over the city.

Kai Petainen

Sat, Aug 31, 2013 : 2:52 p.m.

To most people, this news story is a 'bad news' story. Something bad happened. But to me, this is one of the best 'good news' stories. Am I still upset that no one was ever charged for the phosphoric acid/oil spill? Yes. Find out who did it and bring them to justice. But I feel happy to know that changes were made after that spill (and the other raw sewage spill). There are so many things in this news story and in this event that tell me for the first time in many years... that improvements have occurred not only at the University of Michigan Department of Public Safety, but at how the city responds to spills. This to me, is a good news story, but many folks won't realize the changes that have occurred to the system. Again, my thanks to UofM and to the city -- this is a job well done and how it should be done.

Kai Petainen

Sat, Aug 31, 2013 : 10:55 p.m.

BasicBob No one was ever charged or fined for putting phosphoric acid/oil in the river and creating a major AAFD operation. I expect no one will be fined or charged with this spill either. That is still a problem with spills in Ann Arbor -- no one gets charged and enforcement is pathetic.

Basic Bob

Sat, Aug 31, 2013 : 5:42 p.m.

And who will be fined for allowing this spill to occur? Justice for all!

Kai Petainen

Sat, Aug 31, 2013 : 2:31 p.m.

I'm going to give a big thank you and a job well done to the University of Michigan! Why? Before the oil/acid spill, they weren't reporting spills on their daily incident log. It was after that spill that they changed things and started reporting spills (they weren't entering spills into the database due to some coding issue). I was searching for this spill and I found it: "Aug 29 2013 2:35 pm Health & Safety CAD#: 132410177 NICHOLS ARBORETUM 1827 GEDDES Smell of sewer gas reported in the valley. Determined to be clogged or broken city sewer pipe. Initial report that no sewage was discharged to the river. Plant Operations and city staff also responded. 8/30/2013 UPDATE - determined to be a clogged pipe. City staff determined some discharge had flowed into the Huron River. City staff providing mediation. Case Status: Incident Report #13-002496 - closed as of 8/31/2013 " Awesome! Seriously... that's good that they're providing that info. A job well done! My hats off to DPSS.


Sat, Aug 31, 2013 : 2:28 p.m.

Hmm this seems to be happening quite often now and the city keeps saying, "opps, we don't know how long it has been happening but we will watch over the situation." How about you take away the full time position of the public art director and focus on fixing your antiquated infrastructure.

Milton Shift

Sat, Aug 31, 2013 : 11:51 a.m.

"No one reported it." Translation: "Our mail chute drops straight into a shredder."


Sat, Aug 31, 2013 : 2:04 p.m.

People may have reported it, but because the form had not been properly filled out, it was rejected.

Milton Shift

Sat, Aug 31, 2013 : 11:31 a.m.

I've been smelling sewage in the Arb for years. It can be overwhelming sometimes. I figured it was just something harmless like them venting fermented butt gas but apparently that was not the case.

Eduard Copely

Sat, Aug 31, 2013 : 11:29 a.m.

Nichols Arboretum is owned by University of Michigan. The aging sewer system by the city. Based on the article, it sounds like the city sewer runs through the Arboretum on it's way to where? The Huron? Help?

Eduard Copely

Sat, Aug 31, 2013 : 4:19 p.m.

Silly, thanks. I understand gravity, just wasn't sure if they had an overflow pipe (as many sewers have) emptying from the Arboretum area into the river or, as you say, it snakes along the river to the treatment plant.

Silly Sally

Sat, Aug 31, 2013 : 12:45 p.m.

Sewers flow downhill. The sewage treatment plant is down river, on the Huron River. I'm sure that the pipe runs along the river, as does the railroad tracks Trains follow rivers since there usually is little elevation variation. "Help?" How silly, it runs into a series of progressively larger pipes into the treatment plant.

Dave Bass

Sat, Aug 31, 2013 : 10:48 a.m.

Is anyone privy to the solution?


Sat, Aug 31, 2013 : 7:55 a.m.

That hes happened more than once this summer in The Arb. I have smelled it right there where the new wooden walk way is like 6 weeks ago. I figured the folks who worked there were on top of it and fix the problem. It was a bad strong smell for sure.

Dog Guy

Sat, Aug 31, 2013 : 3:53 a.m.

Such "visible flow" is wasted in the wilds but could draw some attention to Dreiseitl's City Hall shaft.


Sat, Aug 31, 2013 : 3:19 a.m.

Nice job Jennifer Lawson:-)


Sat, Aug 31, 2013 : 1:04 a.m.



Sat, Aug 31, 2013 : 12:52 a.m.

The odor, sometimes debilitating, has existed for YEARS and persisted even after work was done in that area. People have complained about it for years. Anyone who has/had any familiarity with Mott knows that there were bathrooms that were used only when absolutely necessary as the stench was overwhelming. No connection? That's the story.

Milton Shift

Sat, Aug 31, 2013 : 11:39 a.m.

Yep, smelled it for years myself.

Basic Bob

Sat, Aug 31, 2013 : 12:46 a.m.

Half speed of a garden hose is about 2 gpm, or 3000 gallons per day. If this has been going on for a month, it is ten times larger than the July overflow.

moonlit orchid

Sat, Aug 31, 2013 : 12:42 a.m.

I am beyond disgusted! My 2 sons and I rented a kayak Thursday. Both of them were swimming in the water and everything! No one said anything to us. We returned to Gallup around 3:00. I am so grossed out right now.

Mary F

Sun, Sep 1, 2013 : 2:06 a.m.

I just posted a comment about being on the river that day as well. As an operating room nurse, I've waded through a lot worse than raw human sewage. Just gotta say "poop happens" and move on....much worse can happen!!


Sat, Aug 31, 2013 : 2:13 p.m.

Right, its against the ordnance to swim in the river, yet the city rents out inter tubes to frolic in the water.


Sat, Aug 31, 2013 : 12:38 p.m.

Well, it IS against city ordinance to swim in the river, and also, the liveries didn't even know til about 5.


Sat, Aug 31, 2013 : 5:13 a.m.

whatsupwithMI, I think blissfully naive is for the best. Our bodies are incredibly robust and able to handle contact with all sorts of gross river organisms (I point to the fact that i've been river/pond/lake/ocean swimming my entire life and haven't died yet!). Of course that doesn't apply to raw human sewage. I'm glad the city responded quickly and hopefully no sicknesses come from it.


Sat, Aug 31, 2013 : 1:38 a.m.

Right, as river water is clean. Never mind all the ducks, canada geese, muskrat, and oh- beaver- that are upstream. Ever hear of giardia? If your kids got some coliforms, hopefully those "washed out" the giardia before they set up shop. Folks without any microbiology background are blissfully naive about what contacts their mucous membranes on a daily basis, I sometimes think. The world isi out to get you. really.


Sat, Aug 31, 2013 : 12:20 a.m.

Great discussion, These sewage conveyance pipes must go to a sewage treatment facility. These facilities monitor the amount of waste entering the system to be treated. A blockage in the conveyance pipe should have alerted the treatment plant that something was not right. The normal flow from this pipe should be recorded daily, if the flow drops by 5000 gallons in a day, they know where to go to verify leakage. The treatment plant should have had inspection crews out within a day or so of any reduction in the amount of sewage entering the facility from that sewage conveyance pipe. Waste water and sewage is monitored very closely to prevent this type of incident from happening.


Sat, Aug 31, 2013 : 10:15 p.m.

Sorry Mike, the WWTP treats an average of 20 million gallons of sewage a day (MGD). Flows fluctuate during the day and night, and a drop of .03% based on 20 MGD would not be noticed. Most of the measuring instruments have accuracy to 1 to 3%, while the best instruments may measure to 0.5%, so crews would not be aware of it.

Silly Sally

Sat, Aug 31, 2013 : 12:36 p.m.

another person living in a video game fantasy land. Oh, so silly. Sewer flows vary greatly and such a small flow equal to a garden hose would not be noticed. Does the city know when you turn on a shower or not? No don't be silly!


Sat, Aug 31, 2013 : 1:41 a.m.

"lol". I don't know what else to say. An entire city of 100k plus (counting the dorms) and... ONE public toilet's variation in flow should set off alarms? Perhaps only if you watch and believe prime time TV shows.....


Sat, Aug 31, 2013 : 12:34 a.m.

At least it should be monitored daily

Kai Petainen

Fri, Aug 30, 2013 : 11:32 p.m.

I just noticed another improvement. Wow. This is great news. When the oil/acid spill happened, it went through UofM grounds and UofM took control of the situation even though it was flowing into the river. In some manner, I could argue that UofM had "jurisdiction" over the river. I was worried that future spills would be handled only by UofM and others wouldn't be included. But, it sounds like the city was notified and there was cooperation. My hats off to the city and to UofM for improving on these matters.

Kai Petainen

Fri, Aug 30, 2013 : 11:01 p.m.

There is actually a 4th improvement that I see. Cooperation between the city and the university. This too is a step in the right direction. "The city was notified by the University of Michigan on Thursday afternoon of reports of a "sewer odor" and "some gray pooled water" in the Arb, city officials said." This story, shows to me... that improvements have been made in Ann Arbor, and I'm quite proud today.

Kai Petainen

Fri, Aug 30, 2013 : 10:56 p.m.

Ryan -- I really appreciate that you covered this event. You did a great job at it. Huge kudos to you.

Kai Petainen

Fri, Aug 30, 2013 : 10:48 p.m.

This article is actually great news -- let me try to explain why. Sorry to hit on an old subject, but there are major improvements that have occurred. When the oil/phosphoric acid spilled in the Huron River and covered it from near this area to Gallup Park, then there were a bunch of steps that weren't taken, that they have now taken for this spill. As such, I must believe that improvements have been made to the system/people that help with these sorts of things. Here's the good news and the improvements that I see. I can't help but think that we learned something from the oil/acid spill long ago and the other recent raw sewage spill. Kudos to a job well done to those involved in this incident. Here are the improvements that I see: 1. They closed the liveries. That should have happened with the oil/phosphoric acid spill, as canoes went through it, children swam in it and dogs drank it -- but I'm happy to see they are doing it now for this spill. That's a great improvement. "Because the sewage reached the Huron River, the City of Arbor took the immediate precaution of closing canoe livery trips in the vicinity, from Argo to Gallup, on Thursday and through Friday" 2. They'll keep testing. They didn't do this with the oil/acid. The AAFD and UofM reports contradict one another with what was in the water and the order of events/responsibility. This is another important step that has been taken. "The City of Ann Arbor has completed testing and will evaluate water quality samples over the next 24 hours for presence of harmful bacteria in the Huron River. " 3. They notified the public right away. They didn't do this with the oil/acid. Good! "ANN ARBOR, Mich., Aug. 30, 2013 — On Thursday late afternoon, Aug. 29, 2013". And there is this article by Ryan. Great job Ryan!

Kai Petainen

Sat, Aug 31, 2013 : 2:39 p.m.

@Itchy... yes, kudos from me. Huge improvements have taken place. If we were to go back a few years, I doubt you would have even heard about this. Read the report about phosphoric acid/oil was dumped in that section of the Huron River and how the public was not notified of the big operation by the AAFD. So yes, huge improvements have happened. And in that case, no one was held accountable -- the one who spilled it was never charged nor fined (and I don't know who spilled it).


Sat, Aug 31, 2013 : 12:34 p.m.

Kudos for handling an issue that never should have happened!!?? City engineers, etc. should be held accountable for having a system with no prevention, no warning system before an accident happens, etc. No kudos from me!


Fri, Aug 30, 2013 : 10:28 p.m.

Is there a way to gauge the debris flow through these pipes? At least to monitor the outflow from the end. When the flow has been reduced it should tell someone that there has been a breach in the system.

Silly Sally

Sat, Aug 31, 2013 : 12:46 p.m.

Oh, so silly. Sewer flows vary greatly and such a small flow equal to a garden hose would not be noticed.


Fri, Aug 30, 2013 : 9:38 p.m.

Entropy. Another reason why city "growth" is not so welcome - it will cost residents more at some point. Like health care, a tipping point will be reached and amenities will have to be trimmed to maintain the core system. Same is true for most any energy-based system (every physical thing). Roots follow water. They are clogging the pipe because they found the source of a leak and grew into the pipe probably agrivating the leak as well.. Indicates man-made pipe deterioration - entropy at work. When "growing" the hospital and city a newer larger sewage line was once put in and for a while life was clean and good. Now the line will have to be refurbished at even more cost. Leaders hide that fact by encouraging more growth to pay for an even newer larger replacement sewage line . Musical tax dollars. The buliders and leaders quickly disappear however when the music stops leaving residents holding a very expensive bag if bills they cannot afford - see Detroit. Residents intuitively know this and beg the city council to spend more on roads and pipes than art and train stations. Probably the last opportunity for leaders get wise and stop "vibrant growth" and arrest their runaway entropy expenxe.

David Rossiter

Fri, Aug 30, 2013 : 9:12 p.m.

Sorry to say it's been going on for weeks -- at least four. Worse on some days than others. Cannot believe those tending to the Arb did not investigate. Most visitors, myself included, would assume that if it were REALLY sewage, the staff at the Arb would be all over it. Wow. Lesson learned. Ask the question in case no one else does.

michael Limmer

Sun, Sep 1, 2013 : 11:30 p.m.

Wow, the government employee haters are out in full force. Just try to follow and keep up with me. bring your pain meds. If you are out, check with Rush, he might have some extras. Then again, maybe not.


Sun, Sep 1, 2013 : 3:05 a.m.

Good help is hard to fine. Then they get corrupted by the public unions. Don't make the guy next to you look bad by being productive and efficient.


Sat, Aug 31, 2013 : 2 p.m.

Assuming proactivity on the part of any government employee is always foolish.


Sat, Aug 31, 2013 : 9:38 a.m.

Don't assume. Report it.


Fri, Aug 30, 2013 : 9:09 p.m.

I recall a commenter on this site who kept bringing up the fact that she had reported raw sewage leaking into the Huron from the Arb but no one would listen. I don't recall her screen name though. Maybe she is still on here?

The Eyes of Justice Team

Fri, Aug 30, 2013 : 8:56 p.m.



Fri, Aug 30, 2013 : 8:56 p.m.

Does Ypsilanti draw its drinking water from the Huron River (drawing from Geddes Pond, upstream from the A2 Sewage Plant) or does Ypsilanti get its drinking water from Lake Huron (via Detroit)?

Basic Bob

Sat, Aug 31, 2013 : 4 a.m.

If Ann Arbor wants good water, they should consider buying it from Detroit like the rest of SE MI. Ann Arbor water is like drinking out of a puddle at a pig farm.


Sat, Aug 31, 2013 : 2:57 a.m.

@whstsupwith MI. Am I Stupid or What? City of A2 Pure Water Supply is More Important than a RR Station! Hiz Honor, the Fat Cat Umich Prof, has his priorities all Screwed Up!


Sat, Aug 31, 2013 : 1:16 a.m.

No municipality obtains its drinking water from the Huron other than Ann Arbor. After the river passes Ann Arbor, the water is not fit for consumption, as Ann Arbor pollutes the river due to sewage and storm water discharge sufficient to make the water undrinkable, even after reasonable treatment. But Ann Arbor worships the Huron UPSTREAM of their city.


Fri, Aug 30, 2013 : 9:26 p.m.

Ypsi gets it's water from Detroit

Basic Bob

Fri, Aug 30, 2013 : 8:23 p.m.

Is this a combined sewer like the ones that people in the southwest part of the city want to keep?

Nicholas Urfe

Fri, Aug 30, 2013 : 8 p.m.

Infrastructure failure stories like this make me wonder how much we are spending on do-nothing projects like the purely symbolic renaming and rebranding of the AATA. That figure has curiously not been disclosed, but wouldn't it be much better spent on infrastructure maintenance?


Sun, Sep 1, 2013 : 3:01 a.m.

Oh yeah, I forgot to add that I don't feel any safer from terrorist activity but e-coli in my drinking water continues to scare the hell out of me.


Sun, Sep 1, 2013 : 2:59 a.m.

TDW, you obviously don't know that the feds built our highways, hoover dam, the Tennessee Valley Authority, subsidize our food and energy sources, provide grants for police enforcement, education, and a host of other local monies like housing. Are you now satisfied with the Nicholas's point of "wasting" money on priorities that have little payoff rather than what will support our decaying infrastructure?


Fri, Aug 30, 2013 : 9:05 p.m.

Homeland....please tell me what the federal budget has to do with Ann Arbor's local budget.Even if they stopped wasting money, spread out across the country if wouldn't help out Ann Arbor much

Homeland Conspiracy

Fri, Aug 30, 2013 : 8:16 p.m.

The budget figures, from a top-secret report called the Fiscal 2013 Congressional Budget Justification Book, show that the U.S. budgeted $52.6 billion in fiscal 2013 to support the operations of 16 intelligence agencies, including $14.7 billion for the CIA, $10.8 billion for the NSA and $10.3 billion for the National Reconnaissance Office. For data collection, processing and analysis across intelligence agencies, the budget breaks down as follows: --$25.3 billion for raw data collection, including technical surveillance from electronic and satellite sources, as well through personal interactions with sources.

Nicholas Urfe

Fri, Aug 30, 2013 : 7:57 p.m.

Recent incidents suggest they need to be more proactive and less reactive. Those sewer lines through a wooded area, near a heavily used public waterway, need periodic inspection and maintenance *before* they get clogged with roots and blow raw sewage. It is "best practices" stuff. They likely have cameras for that. What I don't read here is acknowledgement that they should have anticipated this problem as part of a regular planned schedule. Maybe someone from the plumber's convention could give them some tips. Have they inspected the rest of the sewer infrastructure in that area? What about other sewers that are at similar risk?


Sat, Aug 31, 2013 : 12:27 p.m.

Yes! It seems we have to educate city engineers how sewers work. Go figure!

Peter Klaver

Fri, Aug 30, 2013 : 8:36 p.m.

It would be difficult to CCTV an interceptor that is flowing full of raw sewage 24-7. It would be neither difficult nor expensive, however, to monitor levels in these pipes while measuring sewage flow at the same time. Then, if levels are rising while flow remains steady, it is a sign that a blockage is forming. One could hope that a plan is being formulated, or better yet ask the City directly what they are doing about it.


Fri, Aug 30, 2013 : 7:50 p.m.

The city does not have sensors on this discharge line to alert them the moment a problem arises? We have to rely on a spill and the public notifying the city of a problem? I am not impressed.


Sat, Aug 31, 2013 : 1:58 a.m.

@ TinyArtist "Dew is water in the form of droplets that appears on thin, exposed objects in the morning or evening due to condensation." "Due" has too many definitions to list here So now we try do. The idiom meaning to manage to get along with the means available is make do, not make due. and of course it is not to make dew. But thanks for getting me thinking and checking.


Fri, Aug 30, 2013 : 11:54 p.m.

Tiny: PepsiCo and dawn's early light are the only ones making "dew"


Fri, Aug 30, 2013 : 9:29 p.m.

Homeland: it's also "we have to make dew"

Homeland Conspiracy

Fri, Aug 30, 2013 : 8:14 p.m.

Have* WE need an edit button

Homeland Conspiracy

Fri, Aug 30, 2013 : 8:13 p.m.

You can bet that Iraq & Afghanistan sensors on their NEW pipes after all they get all the new stuff we here in the good ol USA have to make due...Oh don't forget The $52.6 billion "black budget" for fiscal 2013

Joel A. Levitt

Fri, Aug 30, 2013 : 7:48 p.m.

Could some one explain why a clogged line should result in sewage release instead of a back up at the source?

Joel A. Levitt

Sun, Sep 1, 2013 : 2:08 p.m.

Peter Klaver, Thanks for the info. Presumably, overflow will occur at maintenance access points. I wonder how much it would cost to provide automatically reporting electronic monitoring devices at these points?

Basic Bob

Sat, Aug 31, 2013 : 4:02 a.m.

The Law of Gravity wins.

Peter Klaver

Fri, Aug 30, 2013 : 8:17 p.m.

The level will rise behind the blockage until it reaches an opening to atmospheric pressure. The line in question is one of two major "interceptor" sewers, and is set considerably lower than any "source" (by which I presume you mean basements and toilets and so forth). So overflow from a manhole is expected in this case.


Fri, Aug 30, 2013 : 7:46 p.m.

Who could have possibly imagined that tree roots in a arboretum could cause a problem?

Honest Abe

Fri, Aug 30, 2013 : 7:31 p.m.

If this were you or me, and this happened; accident or not, we would be subject to fines and jail time if we did not clean this up and fix the underlying issue. Who is going to be held responsible? Is the City going to punish itself? Like I said, I know it's accidental, but if it were anyone else - Some form of government would be right there in your face, ready to act and punish.


Sun, Sep 1, 2013 : 2:52 a.m.

Government employees can be negligent, incompetent, lazy, and sleeping on the job and they still couldn't be disciplined with any severity like being held accountable.

Kai Petainen

Sat, Aug 31, 2013 : 2:43 p.m.

Probably no one will be punished. Someone spilled oil/phosphoric acid near that same area and no one was ever fined/charged for that -- and it was a major operation for the AAFD.


Fri, Aug 30, 2013 : 11:54 p.m.

sure, let's say a $100,000 fine. does that work?


Fri, Aug 30, 2013 : 11:34 p.m.

That's exactly what I was thinking. When an individual has an environmental accident, the government goes after them with a vengeance and people want to run them out of town with pitch forks. Not the same for the city's negligence.


Fri, Aug 30, 2013 : 7:24 p.m.

Raw sewage smell was just awful last Wednesday, the 21st. I, probably like most people, assumed the grounds people were aware of whatever was causing the problem. There were a lot of people in the Arb that evening. I can't believe it's been going on this long when the smell was as strong and widespread as it was. I sure wish I had made a report!


Fri, Aug 30, 2013 : 7:19 p.m.

" included toilet water, though there were no visible solids"


Fri, Aug 30, 2013 : 11:53 p.m.

Hey, I can do that too. "She said the grayish water was leaking out of the manhole at about half the speed of a garden hose."

Jack Gladney

Fri, Aug 30, 2013 : 8:05 p.m.

That is an accurate quotation.


Fri, Aug 30, 2013 : 7:17 p.m.

I grew up on Portage Lake and used the Huron river for recreation such as canoeing and fishing. The latter we ate, need I say more. We humans are a filthy, disgusting lot.


Fri, Aug 30, 2013 : 7:15 p.m.

Best to swim with your head above the water...

Elaine F. Owsley

Fri, Aug 30, 2013 : 7:15 p.m.

Nice job, Ryan.,


Tue, Sep 3, 2013 : 3:39 p.m.

Klaver-"Tree roots in a major interceptor "? I don't see anything about that in the article.

Peter Klaver

Fri, Aug 30, 2013 : 8:43 p.m.

Agreed. Ryan, can you follow this story? Personally I am not interested in legal consequences, but I would like to know what the City plans to do in the future to prevent this type of thing. Tree roots in a major interceptor is not a once-in-a-lifetime type of occurrence; we may expect this to happen more frequently, now that it has started. A monitoring strategy to keep ahead of blockages is a good investment; either the City already has one and it failed for some reason, or else they should be contemplating installing one. Either way, it would be worth inquiring.


Fri, Aug 30, 2013 : 7:10 p.m.

Oh poo!


Fri, Aug 30, 2013 : 7:10 p.m.

Ew. Look for this type of thing to happen more and more often as our ancient crumbling infrastructure ages further. Instead our city council spends money on worthless art and un-needed buildings and parking structures.


Sun, Sep 1, 2013 : 2:47 a.m.

Skate park aside, ross, you forgot the new crosswalks, at least the artwork isn't killing anyone.


Sat, Aug 31, 2013 : 1:02 a.m.

To be fair, the people organizing the skate park have raised a lot of money that hasn't come from the city budget. What's really ew is they say not to swim in the river 48 hours after it rains due to ecoli and what not, but 24 hours after they simply STOPPED the sewage? You won't find me out on that river this weekend.


Sat, Aug 31, 2013 : 12:46 a.m.

Don't forget the $1.4M Skate Park debacle!