PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — A mechanical issue at the City of Newport’s wastewater treatment plant caused approximately 1.18 million gallons of “insufficiently treated” sewage to spill into the Pacific Ocean at Nye Beach on July 9.
City of Newport City Manager Spencer Nebel told KOIN 6 News that a machine that adds chlorine to the city’s wastewater broke down on the day of the spill. Following the initial mechanical failure, the city allowed partially treated wastewater to flow into the ocean for several hours.
“A pump that added chlorine to the effluent failed,” Nebel said. “And so, as a result, we had a period of time when we were not chlorinating the effluent that we were discharging into the ocean.”
Two days after the spill, the City of Newport announced the “potentially hazardous” beach conditions in a press release. The press release and signs posted at Nye Beach warn that contact with insufficiently treated wastewater could be hazardous to human health.
“The City has notified the Department of Environmental Quality as well as the Oregon Emergency Response System and is conducting sampling of the effluent water and the beaches at Don Davis Park,” the city stated in the press release.
The beach water could be unhealthy for a period of time following the spill. However, Nebel said that the superintendent of the wastewater treatment plant believes that the mechanical issue was fixed and that improperly treated sewage is no longer flowing into the ocean.
“The superintendent believes everything is testing positive,” he said. “The issue seems to have been resolved.”