Portland rain sends sewage into Willamette River

People should avoid jet skiing and swimming

Giant pieces of the new Sellwood Bridge were floated up the Willamette River to help build the arch for the bridge, Dec. 15, 2014 (KOIN 6 News)
Giant pieces of the new Sellwood Bridge were floated up the Willamette River to help build the arch for the bridge, Dec. 15, 2014 (KOIN 6 News)

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Portland officials say heavy rainfall has caused sewage to overflow into the Willamette River early Sunday.

The Oregonian reports people and their pets should avoid contact with river water between the Sellwood Bridge and Kelley Point Park where the Willamette and Columbia rivers meet.

The Bureau of Environmental Services says that means people should avoid jet skiing and swimming because water could be swallowed. If they fish within 48 hours of sewage overflow, they cook that fish thoroughly to kill bacteria.

In 2011, the bureau finished its $1.4 billion Big Pipe project to reduce such events. Before its completion, Portland averaged 50 sewer overflows into the Willamette River each year.

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