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Maryland officials issue health alert after sewage main breaks in Ellicott City

ELLICOTT CITY, Md. -- Authorities in Maryland's Howard County have issued what they're calling a "precautionary health alert" after a sewage main broke following torrential rains that prompted destructive flash flooding. The main ruptured about 2 miles away from downtown Ellicott City, where the historic main street was ravaged by floodwaters for the second time in less than two years.

The sewage overflow, which was first noticed early Monday, has been stopped. But as much as 500,000 gallons of sewage has already spilled.

Authorities on Tuesday are advising residents to stay away from the affected area well above downtown Ellicott City as a "precautionary health alert." Warning signs have been posted in the general area.

Howard County officials confirmed there was one person missing. The missing man was identified as 39-year-old Eddison Hermond of Severn, Maryland.

Hermond was reported missing around 12:30 a.m. Monday. Kenneth Josepha, a close friend of Hermond, told CBS News that Hermond was trying to help a woman locate her pet, but while trying to assist her, he was washed away on Main Street.

Howard County Police Chief Gary Gardner said the National Guard member and U.S. Air Force veteran had been with a group at the La Palapa Grill & Cantina when a woman approached, desperately trying to rescue her pet just outside.

"He, along with some other folks, went back to assist her and unfortunately during that effort they saw him go under water," Gardner told reporters.

Howard County Executive Allan Kittleman said his immediate priorities are finding Hermond and assessing the condition of damaged buildings that housed shops, restaurants and families.

"If you look at the devastation and the damage, I would certainly say it's worse than 2016," Kittleman said. "We've had areas that were not even damaged at all two years ago terribly damaged this time."

Ellicott City certainly got the worst of it. But torrential rains led to such bad flooding in Baltimore County, Baltimore City and the capital of Annapolis that Gov. Larry Hogan declared a statewide emergency to better coordinate support and assistance.

CBS News' Jeff Pegues contributed to this report.