People advised to avoid Willamette River near Willamette Park du - KPTV - FOX 12

People advised to avoid Willamette River near Willamette Park due to sewage overflow

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Willamette River, file image Willamette River, file image
PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) -

People are advised to avoid contact with the Willamette River in the area north of Willamette Park due to a combined sewage overflow.

The overflow was caused by a temporary blockage from debris at the Southwest Carolina Street outfall to the river.

The overflow began at 11:47 p.m. Wednesday and ended at midnight when the blockage cleared itself.

People should avoid contact with the water in the area for 48 hours, according to the Portland Bureau of Environmental Services.

The bureau reports that this is the fourth combined sewage overflow since November. The combined system overflows to the Willamette River an average of four times per winter and once every three summers.

Portland's combined sewer system carries sewage and stormwater runoff in the same pipes. In December 2011, Portland completed a 20-year program of sewer improvements that included pipes on both sides of the Willamette River along the Columbia Slough.

The improvements eliminate 99 percent of combined sewer overflows from the slough and 94 percent from the river, according to the Portland Bureau of Environmental Services.

Before the city completed the CSO control program, the bureau reports combined sewers overflowed an average of 50 times a year.

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