(February 2, 2017) - After further investigation, Environmental Services determined that there was no sewage discharge into the Columbia Slough on January 27.
The partially treated sewage that was released on Jan. 27 from an uncapped pipe at the treatment plant was instead recaptured and pumped back into the plant or was absorbed into the ground at the treatment plant. The cause of the incident is still being investigated and the amount of the release is unknown but estimated to be less than one thousand gallons.
Below is the original news release.
Sanitary Sewage Release Advisory
(this is not a combined sewer overflow [CSO] advisory)
(January 27, 2017) - Environmental Services is advising the public that partially processed sewage being conveyed from the City of Portland Columbia Wastewater Treatment Plant into a treatment lagoon was unintentionally released today and flowed across the ground into the Columbia Slough.
An unknown amount of the partially treated sewage escaped from a pipe that had become uncapped before the release was stopped at about 10:30 a.m.. Environmental Services is investigating the release and its cause.
As a precaution, the public is advised to avoid contact with the Columbia Slough for at least 48 hours because of increased bacteria in the water.
Unlike this event, most sewage overflows are caused by blockages. Over one-third of Portland’s more than 2,500 miles of sewer pipes are over 80 years old. Pipes that fail or become blocked with grease, tree roots, and debris can cause sewage overflows.
The Bureau of Environmental Services provides city residents with programs to protect water quality and public health, including wastewater collection and treatment, sewer construction and maintenance, stormwater management, and stream and watershed restoration
Media contact: Diane Dulken, Public Information Officer (503)823-6724 firstname.lastname@example.org