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Sewage overflows keep Portland crews busy on Wednesday

While city officials said that both involved private sewer lines, they also said that they were 'unrelated' to one another.
toilet flush sewer

PORTLAND, Ore. — Crews from the City of Portland were responding to two pretty crappy situations Wednesday afternoon — a pair of seemingly "unrelated" sewage overflows in different areas of the city.

Shortly before 8 p.m. on Wednesday, the Portland Bureau of Environmental Services (PBES) sent out a statement regarding a report of sewage flowing onto a parking lot at 1555 North Tomahawk Island Drive in the Jantzen Beach Center.

City officials said that the overflow came from a private sewer line, and was still going on when the statement went out.

Less than an hour later, PBES sent out a second statement regarding a sewage overflow on Adventist Health Medical Center property near Southeast Market Street and I-205. Again, the overflow came from a private sewer line and was still going on as of shortly before 8:45 p.m.

"As a precaution, the public is advised to follow posted signage and stay away from the immediate overflow area, which crosses a publicly accessible pathway," the agency said. "The cause of the overflow is unknown at this time, and resolution is pending actions taken by the property owner."

Despite the timing, PBES said that the two overflows were totally unrelated. It wasn't immediately clear when they would be resolved.

Sewage overflows are often preventable, the agency said. Pipes can become clogged with grease, tree roots and debris, causing a backup and overflow. PBES offered a short list of tips that can help to prevent them:

  • Place grease in a container and then in the trash, not down kitchen drains. Food establishments are required to take additional measures to prevent grease from entering sewer lines.
  • Avoid flushing rags, wipes, or anything other than toilet paper and human waste.
  • Outside the home, avoid pouring anything down storm drains, which are intended for rainfall only.

If you detect an odor of sewage, which can indicate a release, you can call the city's maintenance hotline at 503-823-1700.

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