Contracted worker at treatment plant breaks leg

By Tim Ruzek

Post-Bulletin, Austin MN

A contracted worker broke his leg Tuesday after falling into more than a foot of dirty water at the bottom of a tank being cleaned at Austin’s wastewater treatment facility.

Austin firefighters and police responded about 12:15 p.m., with firefighters putting the man onto a backboard to be lifted out of the tank in a basket, Police Chief Paul Philipp said. He was decontaminated at Austin Medical Center.

The man, hired to clean the digester, fell into about 1-1/2 feet of dirty water in the tank, the chief said.


"He was pretty covered, I guess," said Philipp, who didn’t have a report from the incident with the man’s name and other details.

A digester is a large, concrete tank where bacterial action is induced and accelerated to break down sludge or organic matter.

City officials on Monday reported that a digester near the Cedar River was undergoing a major cleaning project when significant flooding occurred Thursday. Water from underneath the tank caused damage to its flooring as a result of ground saturation, officials said, allowing water into the tank.

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