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Heavy rains cause sewage, rainwater to overflow into Willamette River

When an overflow happens, it's advised that the public avoids contact with the river for 48 hours due to increased bacteria in the river.
Credit: KGW
Willamette River

PORTLAND, Ore. — Heavy rains overnight caused the Big Pipe sewer system to overflow into the Willamette River, the Portland Bureau of Environmental Services (PBES) reported Monday morning. The overflow began around 3:15 a.m. on Monday and is ongoing.

Because there is heavy rain in the forecast later this week, the PBES said it's extending the overflow advisory through Sunday, Jan. 9. The advisory says people should avoid contact with river water downstream of the Ross Island Bridge due to increased bacteria.

This is the first overflow of 2022 and the third since November.

RELATED: Sewage, rainwater overflow into Willamette River for the fifth time this year (Dec. 2021)

When an overflow happens, it's advised that the public avoids contact with the river during the overflow and for 48 hours after due to increased bacteria in the river.

The public can see Big Pipe levels at the new online tracker.

Combined sewer overflow (CSO) is roughly 80% stormwater and 20% sewage.

The Big Pipe project was completed in 2011 and was done to help the number of CSO that occurred each year. The Big Pipe has dropped CSOs by 94% in the Willamette River and 99% in the Columbia Slough according to PBES.

RELATED: Sewage leaks into the Willamette River following heavy rain (Jan. 2021)

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