Recent Heavy Rain Event Results in Sewer Overflow

Posted on December 7, 2023

The overflows occurred to the Willamette River and Multiple Creeks

City of Salem – 12/06/23 5:30 PM

Salem, Ore. – Due to recent heavy rainfall and saturated ground conditions, the City of Salem experienced an overflow of diluted raw sewage into the Willamette River. This discharge began at approximately 10:00 a.m. on December 6, 2023, from the authorized Union and Church Street location. The exact quantity of the material discharged into the river is still undetermined due to the ongoing storm.

During intense rainstorms, the saturated ground allows water to enter the sanitary sewer system through cracks and holes in the pipe network. This overwhelms the sewer system’s capacity to transport sewage to the water pollution control facility, resulting in an overload. In severe cases, overflows become necessary, leading to the release of sewage at authorized relief locations.

As the system copes with the excess water, an additional 8 overflows were reported from sewage manholes throughout the City this afternoon. These overflows impacted various creeks, including the Pringle, Claggett, and Fork of the Little Pudding. The quantities discharged are yet to be determined.

Warning signs have been posted to advise people to avoid contact with the water in the Willamette River, Pringle, Claggett, and Little Pudding due to the potential for high levels of bacteria. These signs will be removed once the bacteria levels return to normal.

If you see an overflowing manhole or wish to report a spill, please call the City of Salem Public Works Department Dispatch Center at 503-588-6333.

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