County: 'Small' sewage spill reaches Willamette River
A crack in the channel bottom of a manhole near the former Blue Heron Paper Co. mill site in Oregon City has spilled an unknown amount of sewage into the Willamette River.
Clackamas County officials announced Aug. 17 that it was unclear how much sewage has leaked from the site owned by Willamette Falls developer George Heidgerken.
Clackamas County officials began testing to see if any of sewage reached the river. Water Environment Services said Aug. 18 that preliminary tests showed no evidence that sewage from the leak has reached the river. Then on Aug. 20, WES discovered that "a small amount of sewage" made its way into the river.
A temporary repair of the crack was made Aug. 17 to reduce the flow of the leak. A second temporary repair early in the morning on Aug. 21 forced the closure of one lane in either direction of Highway 99E from Tumwater Drive to the tunnel. Permanent repairs are pending.
Officials said people should avoid swimming or kayaking in the Willamette River between Clackamette Park and Willamette Falls. This warning to avoid direct contact with the water will remain in effect until 9 p.m. Wednesday.
KOIN 6 News contributed to this report. This story has been updated from its original version online to reflect updated information from county officials.