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City of Albany Reports Sanitary Sewer Overflow Event

Recent rainfall combined with saturated ground conditions have resulted in the overflow of diluted raw sewage from the Albany and Millersburg wastewater collection systems.  Rain gauges at City facilities recorded over 1.6 inches of rainfall between midnight and 7:00 a.m. on February 16, 2017.  Starting at about 2:30 a.m., the Millersburg Morningstar sewer lift station became inundated with flow, damaging the pumps and associated equipment and resulting in an overflow onto Millersburg Drive NE and into nearby Crooks Creek in Millersburg.  Albany Public Works staff, who maintain the sewer system for Millersburg, were immediately dispatched to address the high flow and continue trying to restore flow to the Morningstar lift station.  Pumping and repairs are expected to continue at least through Friday, February 17.   

Additionally, during this same rain event, the City of Albany overflowed diluted raw sewage into the Willamette River at one of its permitted sanitary sewer overflow sites.  When the ground becomes saturated, groundwater enters the sanitary sewer from cracks and holes in the pipes in addition to footing drains and other sources of extraneous water from private property.  When this occurs, the ability of the sewer system to transport sewage to the Albany-Millersburg Water Reclamation Facility (AM-WRF) is exceeded and the system becomes surcharged.  When these conditions become severe enough, excess diluted sewage overflows to permitted overflow pipes to avoid sewage from backing up and damaging property, including basement flooding.

It is unknown at this time how much sewage overflowed at either location.  Signs were posted at the two sites warning the public of the potential hazards of contact with the water due to potentially high levels of bacteria.  The signs will be removed once the bacteria levels return to normal.

If you see an overflowing manhole or wish to report a spill, please contact the Public Works Department Operations office at 541-917-7600.