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The City of Portland, Oregon

Environmental Services

working for clean rivers

Phone: 503-823-7740

Fax: 503-823-6995

1120 SW 5th Ave, Suite 613, Portland, OR 97204

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Advisory: Sewer line clogged by grease leads to overflow upstream of Stephens Creek Nature Park

Correction: The location of the sewage release is the 6700 block of SW Capitol Hill ROAD.  

(April 3, 2020) - A grease-clogged sewer line led to an overflow on the 6700 block of SW Capitol Highway last night, just upstream from the Stephens Creek Nature Park.

As a precaution, the public is advised to avoid contact with Stephens Creek, especially in the area of the nature park, through April 5, due to the possibility of increased bacteria in the water. People are also advised to obey sewer release warning signs posted on that one block stretch of SW Capitol Highway. 

An estimated 600 gallons of sewage overflowed onto SW Capitol Highway from a maintenance access hole, and to a storm drain that leads to the creek. City crews arrived on-scene around 7 p.m. and cleared the blockage at about 11 p.m. 

Most sewage overflows are preventable. Pipes that become blocked with grease, tree roots, wet wipes, and other debris are the most common cause of sewage overflows.  

Environmental Services advises the public to follow these tips to prevent clogs in homes and businesses, and to prevent sewage releases: 

  • Never pour grease down drains: Collect grease, oil, and fat in a can and then into the garbage. Grease that is liquid when poured down drains will become solid once in pipes.
  • Only flush human waste and toilet paper (wet wipes are NOT flushable); 
  • Don’t put anything down storm drains, which are intended for rainfall only. Many of the City’s storm drains feed directly into creeks.

If you experience or see a sewer overflow, call the City of Portland’s 24/7 hotline: 503-823-1700.  

 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. @BESPortland.

Media contact: Diane Dulken