Advisory: Power outages occur at four sewage pump stations; sewage release possible to Willamette River

News Article

Update (Feb. 26): More than 20 sewage releases prevented during pump station outages; four addressed

With widespread power outages starting Feb. 15, Environmental Services crews responded to multiple disruptions at pump stations, inspecting or restoring service via backup generators and other repairs.

Environmental Services’ crews prevented spills at more than 20 locations, and addressed sewage releases to the Willamette River from four locations. The sewage releases, totaling about 500,000 gallons, lasted between a half-hour to 30 hours ending on February 16. During that time, steep icy roads and downed trees prevented crews from reaching the four affected stations – a cluster of three pump stations in the Dunthorpe area of SW Portland a fourth near the St. Johns Bridge in N Portland.

The City has 98 pump stations that send sewage to the City’s treatment plants, and are served by backup generators on site, or portable generators.

Environmental Services continues to assess the conditions of pump stations and other parts of the city system for possible storm damage. 

Original news release: Feb.15, 2021:

The severe winter storm that hit Portland this weekend has resulted in power outages in many areas of the city. Environmental Services reports that four of it 99 pump stations, which normally pump sewage and stormwater to the Columbia Boulevard Wastewater Treatment Plant, are currently without power due to the storm. At this time, the St. Johns Pump Station, Miles Place Pump Station, Beebee Pump Station, and Elk Rock Pump Station are without power. These pump stations are inaccessible due to road conditions but will be repaired as soon as it is safe for city crews to reach them.

Due to the power outages, Environmental Services is unable to confirm if sewage is being released from these pump stations to the Willamette River. Out of an abundance of caution, the public is advised to avoid the river for the next 48 hours in case a sewage release is occurring. The bureau will advise the public when more information becomes available.

The Bureau of Environmental Services provides city residents with programs to protect water quality and public health, including wastewater collection and treatment, sewer construction and maintenance, stormwater management, and stream and watershed restoration.