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Jan-08-2008 16:38printcomments

Heavy Rain Leads to Sewage Overflow in Willamette River

Signs have been posted warning people to avoid contact with the water in the Willamette River due to potentially high levels of bacteria.

Willamette River in Salem
Willamette River in Salem

(SALEM, Ore.) - Recent rainfall combined with saturated ground conditions have resulted in the City of Salem overflowing diluted raw sewage into the Willamette River.

Wastewater Collection Services Manager Dave Prock with Salem Public Works, says the gates at the North River Road diversion structure were opened at approximately 12:03 PM.

He explains that when the ground becomes saturated, groundwater enters the sanitary sewer from cracks and holes in the pipes in addition to footing drains and other sources of extraneous water from private property.

"When this occurs, the ability of the sewer system to transport sewerage to the water pollution control facility is exceeded and the system becomes surcharged."

When these conditions become severe enough Prock says, the gates must be opened to avoid damaging property from sanitary sewer backups and basement flooding.

Prock says signs have been posted warning people to avoid contact with the water in the Willamette River due to potentially high levels of bacteria. The signs will be removed once the bacteria levels return to normal.




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