BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — A blockage in a sewer pipe led to an overflow of raw sewage near a ski run at Big Sky Resort in southern Montana.

About 62,500 gallons of sewage seeped into about 4 feet (1 meter) of snow on Thursday, the Billings Gazette reported.

The sewage never reached the Middle Fork of the West Fork of the Gallatin River, about 170 feet away. Water samples were taken from the stream above and below the spill for testing as a precautionary measure.

The 15-inch sewer pipe was blocked by debris accumulating on a lodged stainless steel strap that may have entered the pipe when it was repaired 14 years ago, Big Sky Sewer and Water District Wastewater Superintendent Grant Burroughs said.

“We caught it pretty quickly,” he said, adding that the strap causing the blockage was removed.

The Montana Department of Environmental Quality was notified of the spill, and it has yet to be determined if they would be fined, public information specialist Moira Davin said.

“Like any sewer system, sometimes you have stuff that backs it up,” said Ron Edwards, general manager of the district. “We found the problem and resolved it fairly quickly.

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