City recommends caution for Willamette River use
Heavy flows have caused Portland’s combined sewer system to overflow to the Willamette River at the Yeon Pump Station.
The combined sewer overflow (CSO) event occurred this morning between 2:10 and 3:15 am. The public should avoid contact with river water for 48 hours after the end of the CSO event.
It is especially important to avoid recreational activities, such as jet skiing or swimming, during which water could be swallowed. CSOs are contaminated with bacteria from untreated sewage. Environmental Services recommends these precautions to protect public health.
People who fish during or soon after a CSO event should wash their hands following contact with river water. Those who choose to eat fish caught in the Willamette River during or soon after a CSO event should cook the fish thoroughly to kill bacteria.
Portland’s combined sewer system carries sewage and stormwater runoff in the same pipes. During very heavy rainstorms, the increased stormwater runoff can cause combined sewers to overflow into the Willamette River.
In December 2011, Portland completed a 20-year program to improve the sewer system and reduce Willamette River CSO volume by 94%. The program reduces CSO events from an average of 50 per year to an average of four per winter and one every third summer.
Please call Debbie Caselton at 503-823-2831 if you have any questions.