Recent Heavy Rain Event Results in Sewer Overflow to Willamette River and Little Pudding River.

Posted on December 20, 2021

Recent rainfall combined with saturated ground conditions have resulted in the City of Salem overflowing diluted raw sewage into the Willamette River. The discharge took place from the authorized Union and Church Street location starting at 6:23 a.m. on December 20, 2021. Another discharge took place at 1990 Wallace Road NW (MH No.-16227) starting at 11:03 am. The quantity discharged is yet to be determined because the discharge continued at the time of this press release.

Another overflow took place from a sewage manhole at Glendale Avenue NE (MH No.- 17317) starting at 9:21 am to the west fork of Little Pudding from within the City. The discharge quantities are yet to be determined.

When the ground becomes saturated, groundwater enters the sanitary sewer from cracks and holes in pipes in addition to footing drains and other sources of extraneous water from private property. When this occurs, the ability of the sewer system to transport sewerage to the water pollution control facility is exceeded and the system becomes surcharged. When these conditions become severe enough, the system relives itself via the authorized relief locations.

Signs are being posted warning people to avoid contact with the water in Willamette River due to potentially high levels of bacteria. The signs will be removed once the bacteria levels return to normal.

Learn more about Sanitary Sewer Overflows ( and the steps taken by the City of Salem to reduce these events.

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