OR - Power outage forces millions of gallons of sewage into Willamette

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March 19, 2001

PORTLAND, ORE. (AP) - Up to four million gallons of raw sewage leaked into the Willamette River over a period of six hours Sunday morning when a sewage pump station lost power, city officials said.

Officials warned residents Sunday to avoid swimming or boating in the river for 48 hours, and to clean thoroughly any fish caught in the river.

The Ankeny pump station lost power around 3 a.m. Sunday, causing the sewage to bypass the pumps and flow directly into the river at the river's west bank near the Burnside Bridge, said Linc Mann, spokesman for Portland's Bureau of Environmental Services.

Power was restored just before 9 a.m., he said.

"That's a lot of sewage," Mann said. "It's really a human health warning. We just want people to know there's a higher level of bacteria than normal."

Mann said the Ankeny pump station handles about 75 million gallons of raw sewage per day. The station pumps the waste to a main sewage plant in north Portland for treatment, he said.


-- Doris (nocents@bellsouth.net), March 20, 2001

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