Around 500,000 gallons of sewage spilled into Columbia River fro - KPTV - FOX 12

Around 500,000 gallons of sewage spilled into Columbia River from Vancouver facility

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VANCOUVER, WA (KPTV) -

Around 500,000 gallons of sewage spilled into the Columbia River from a Vancouver wastewater treatment facility Saturday.

The city reported that a rapid series of power interruptions led to the release of approximately 110,000 gallons of partially treated effluent and around 400,000 gallons of untreated sewage. 

The incident occurred from 8:30 a.m. to 11:15 a.m. Saturday at the westside facility at 2323 W. Mill Plain Blvd., about a half mile west of the railroad bridge over the Columbia River, west of Interstate 5.

Workers said there are no records, going back to 1995, of other raw sewage releases from the plant.

The problem occurred when nearby surges and failures in the power supplied by Clark Public Utilities interrupted normal operating power and rendered two standby generators at the treatment plant inoperable, leaving one reserve generator that overloaded shortly after it was brought online.

The first release was treated effluent that had gone through all but the city's ultraviolet disinfection part of the treatment process. The second release was untreated raw sewage that flowed from a holding storage as a result of the plant shutdown, caused by the power failure.

People who came in contact with the Columbia River downstream from the railroad bridge over the weekend are advised to wash all clothing they wore and equipment they used. Pets who were in the water should be washed, as well. 

Any fish caught in the affected area should be cleaned property and cooked.

Anyone concerned about possible health issues can contact the Clark County Public Health Department at 360-397-8428. 

The city has a second wastewater treatment plant at Marine Park that continued operations as usual.

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