About 10,000 gallons of sewage spilled near Bald Ridge Creek earlier this week, Cumming officials said.
Jon Heard, director of the city utilities department, said the spill was reported to the Environmental Protection Division, as well as the Forsyth County Health Department and nearby governments.
He said the EPD likely will fine the city for the incident, which occurred near the Columns at Pilgrim Mill apartment homes off Freedom Parkway, though it will be a few weeks before an amount is known.
Heard said crews became aware of the spill about 6 p.m. Monday, after a nearby resident complained of the odor.
He said they worked until dark trying to find the cause. Their efforts resumed early Tuesday, with the source pinpointed about 8:30 a.m.
"A force main had a joint come apart," Heard said. "The ground had been graded and had a steep slope. It looked like the earth had settled and caused the bell joint in the main to come apart."
Heard said it took crews most of Tuesday to "remediate the spill" and repair the damaged joint.
"Within about 20 to 30 minutes of finding the cause of the spill, we had it stopped," said Heard, who noted a second, functioning force main was nearby.
"We turned the broke one off and used the good one. It was able to stay off until we repaired it."
Heard said crews used lime and hay to clean up the area, which they also reseeded.
The department will monitor Bald Ridge Creek over the next several months to "make sure bacteria levels stay low," he said.