Sewage line leak

Warning sign at the Necanicum River. 

Residents are being asked to stay off the Necanicum River until further notice due to possible contamination from a broken sewer line near Avenue U.

The public works department was notified about a leak in the sewer line that runs underneath the river Thursday afternoon by the owner Bell Buoy of Seaside, said Tony Biamont, the city’s wastewater treatment plant foreman, and shut off any flow through the pipes the same night.

There are no estimates of how much contaminant has been released into the river at this time.

City Manager Mark Winstanley said the impacts to water quality are expected to be minimal, and warnings to keep away from the river are mostly a precaution.

“The bigger issue we have when sewer line breaks is water gets into them rather than sewer gets out of them. The volume they carry in them is a lot less than the size of the line ... water is going to pour into the line,” Winstanley said. “We can’t promise that sewage can’t come out ... so we have to post that we have the potential to have sewage contamination come into the river, but the odds are much greater that we have water pumping into our sewer line.”

Crews are currently manually pumping out the line and sending it to the wastewater treatment system.

Public crews will construct a temporary sewer line to run across and above the river until infrastructure below can be addressed, which Winstanley estimates could take up to the end of next week to complete.

People are advised to avoid contact with the river until further notice.

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