SALEM, Ore. (AP) – Officials in Salem say nearly 57 million gallons of diluted raw sewage flowed into the Willamette River and area streams after heavy rains overwhelmed the city’s sewage treatment system.
The Statesman Journal reports (http://stjr.nl/2k53sMS ) that city spokesman Mike Gotterba says the sewage was released into the river from Sunday morning to Monday night to prevent it from flooding streets and basements.
The sewage release is permitted under Oregon environmental regulations.
In addition to this week’s release, city officials say they discovered raw sewage flowing from at least nine manholes across Salem.
They estimate sewage flowed into Pringle, Clark, Claggett and Waln creeks as well as the Little Pudding River.
Signs warning people to avoid the water have been posted and will remain up until testing shows normal bacteria levels.