Correction: The original news release incorrectly identified the location. It is Spencer Street, not Spencer Road. In addition, the description of the overflow’s pathway along the street has been corrected.
City crews on Sunday responded to a sewage release from a maintenance hole in a wooded area of Northwest Portland’s Forest Heights neighborhood, and estimated that some of that flow reached Cedar Mill Creek.
As a precaution, the public is advised to avoid contact with Cedar Mill Creek for 48 hours due to increased bacteria in the water.
The overflow occurred from a maintenance hole between NW Spencer Street and NW Thompson Road. Crews responded around 3 p.m. Sunday and stopped the release around 6:20 p.m. They estimate about 40,000 gallons overflowed to the ground, traveled along less than 70 feet of pavement, and to a storm drain.
The cause of the overflow is being investigated.
Environmental Services reminds the public that most sewage releases are preventable. The most common causes of blocked pipes and sewage overflows are household debris such as cooking grease or wet wipes that are flushed or rinsed into pipes, as well as tree roots.
Environmental Services advises the public to follow these tips to prevent clogs in homes and businesses and to prevent sewage releases:
- Only flush human waste and toilet paper (wet wipes are NOT flushable).
- Never pour grease down drains: Collect grease, oil, and fat in a can and then into the garbage. Grease that is liquid when poured down drains will become solid once in pipes.
- Don’t put anything down storm drains, which are intended for rainfall only.
If you experience or see a sewer overflow, contact the City’s hotline any hour of the day at 503-823-1700.
About Environmental Services
Environmental Services - the City of Portland’s sewer and stormwater utility - protects public health and environment by collecting and recovering resources from the city’s wastewater, managing stormwater, and restoring and protecting Portland’s rivers, streams, and watersheds. Portland.gov/bes/news.