McKellar Lake reopened after massive sewage leak

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- Early Saturday morning, city crews were pulling signs out of the water, letting people know McKellar Lake is open.

The Recreational Use Advisory was lifted late Friday evening after samples taken from the lake showed normal E. coli levels.

That means the water is safe enough for recreational activities to resume on McKellar Lake.

However, the Tennessee Department of Environment & Conservation said residents should still avoid Cypress Creek until further notice.

"TDEC and the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA), as well as the City of Memphis, have monitored both waterbodies routinely since April 1, 2016," the TDEC said in a statement. "TDEC and TWRA will continue to monitor the waterbodies as needed."

When the first sewer line broke sending millions of gallons of sewage into the water, officials warned people to stay out and to not eat the fish.

Just a few days later, a second leak was reported but was quickly fixed.

Then, on April 19, the city said it was making emergency repairs to a line break near the Loosahatchie River.

In all, more than 350 million gallons of raw sewage is thought to have been sent into the waterways.

More than 10,000 fish died as a result of the leak.

An advisory was issued after extremely high levels of E. coli were found by the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation.

Water sample results showed E. coli levels in much of McKellar Lake were up to 300 times the recreational criteria for streams and up to 580 times the recreational criteria for lakes, according to TDEC.

Areas of the lake east, south and west of Treasure Island were especially affected.

While the spill has stopped, the city is still working to replace the faulty sewer line.

It's a fix that could cost up to $10 million and take about three more months to complete.

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