Weather Forecast


Tests reveal E. coli present in Lake Osakis

Test results have been returned to city officials regarding the impact of a water runoff event that flowed into Lake Osakis.

A heavy rain moved through the Osakis area June 20-21 and forced the release of rainwater runoff that had reportedly infiltrated the city's sewer system.

How much was released remains unknown.

Three of six water samples taken from Lake Osakis indicated elevated E. coli levels.

However, according to Osakis City Councilmember Kyle Kostrzewski, the downtown public access has been labeled as "safe."

"We don't know what the [E.coli] levels were in the lake before the [June 20-21] storms, or what the levels are normally," he said. "And, with the lake being impaired [already], I don't know what that means.

Kostrzewski said the city contacted the Minnesota Department of Health July 17 to determine the next course of action, if any.

"We're waiting to hear back from the department of health," Kostrazewski said on July 17. "We'll continue to monitor conditions and continue to take samples. We'll stay on top of it."

The Sauk River Watershed District (SRWD) reportedly conducted tests at several locations in the lake in late June.

According to the state department of health, most strains of E. coli are harmless and live in the intestines of healthy humans and animals. It's not known what strain of E.coli was found in the lake.


The majority of the rainwater inflow and infiltration occurred at the city's main lift station, near the downtown boat access. The runoff was reportedly discharged from a pipe that runs north from the lift station to Lake Osakis.

The runoff bypassed one of the treatment systems, Kostrzewski said, and water flowed out of a discharge pipe and into the lake.

Kostrzewski said it was infiltration water, not straight sewage, that entered the lake.

Amy Chaffins

Amy Chaffins is a journalist working for the Echo Press newspaper in Alexandria, Minnesota.

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