Ashland Public Works Administrative Manager Sharon Campbell stands on a walkway at Ashland’s wastewater treatment plant. Several times in the past five years, sewage has overflowed the system and flowed into Lake Superior in violation of state law. This week's rains forced another 5-million-gallon overflow. 

The city of Ashland dumped another 5.2 million gallons of sewage into Chequamegon Bay during this week’s heavy rains.

The city said in a press release that the rain forced the wastewater treatment plant to overflow from Monday evening until early Wednesday.

The city said, “All necessary steps are being taken to limit any public health hazard or potentially harmful effects on the environment, but it also warned residents to avoid overflow areas “fur to the potential for exposure to disease-causing organisms.”

The overflow comes just a week after the city participated in a symposium called Keep it out of the Bay, in which Ashland representatives outlined for residents how compromised the city's sewer system is.

This week’s overflow brings the total amount of sewage dumped into the bay over the past several years to at least 80 million gallons.

Each of the 20 overflows has been a violation of state regulations, but the city has faced no repercussions for the contamination.

“Repairing and replacing deteriorated sewer pipes in many cases means digging up streets and alleyways,” Ashland Mayor Deb Lewis said in a column published in the Daily Press three days before this week’s overflow. “Repairs will be made as funds allow. I don’t promise that this will be easy.”


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