Portland Bureau of Environmental Services
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News Release
CORRECTED Advisory: Sewer line clogged by grease leads to overflow upstream of Stephens Creek Nature Park - 04/03/20

Correction: an earlier version misstated the location of the release. The correct location is the 6700 block of SW Capitol Hill ROAD. The advisory below has been revised accordingly: 

A grease-clogged sewer line led to an overflow on the 6700 block of SW Capitol Road  last night, just upstream from the Stephens Creek Nature Park.

As a precaution, the public is advised to avoid contact with Stephens Creek, especially in the area of the nature park, through April 5, due to the possibility of increased bacteria in the water. People are also advised to obey sewer release warning signs posted on that one block stretch of SW Capitol Road. 

An estimated 600 gallons of sewage overflowed onto SW Capitol Road from a maintenance access hole, and to a storm drain that leads to the creek. City crews arrived on-scene around 7 p.m. and cleared the blockage at about 11 p.m. 

Most sewage overflows are preventable. Pipes that become blocked with grease, tree roots, wet wipes, and other debris are the most common cause of sewage overflows.  

Environmental Services advises the public to follow these tips to prevent clogs in homes and businesses, and to prevent sewage releases: 

  • 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.
  • Only flush human waste and toilet paper (wet wipes are NOT flushable); 
  • Don’t put anything down storm drains, which are intended for rainfall only. Many of the City’s storm drains feed directly into creeks.

If you experience or see a sewer overflow, call the City of Portland’s 24/7 hotline: 503-823-1700.  

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. @BESPortland. www.portlandoregon.gov/bes/news.


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