The unnamed creek in Dickinson Park & Woods will be unsafe for 72 hours, says Environmental Services

COURTESY PHOTO - The Bureau of Environmental Services released this photo of the unnamed creek in Dickinson Park & Woods that was contaminated. A sewer line stopped up with "unknown" debris overflowed Thursday morning in Southwest Portland, according to a report by the Bureau of Environmental Services.

City workers responded to the manhole spouting foul water in the 10800 block of Southwest 57th Avenue around 11:30 a.m. on Thursday, Jan. 10.

The blockaged was fixed and the debris was removed by about 2:45 p.m. that day.

Officials say the waste water flowed into the south border of Dickinson Park & Woods, reaching an unnamed creek inside the park.

"As a precaution, people are advised to avoid contact with the creek for 72 hours because of the possibility of increased bacteria in the water," according to a news release. "Warning signs are posted at the site."

The bureau says these overflows are largely preventable, as most pipes become sealed by grease, tree roots or trash. The cause of blockage in this instance is not known.

The Bureau of Environmental Services oversees more than 2,500 miles of city sewer pipes, of which about one-third are more than 80 years old.

The bureau released these tips to the general public to help prevent sewage spills:

• Keep grease out of drains — place grease in a container and then in the trash, not down kitchen drains.

• Use toilets for pee, poo and (toilet) paper — avoid flushing rags or wipes or anything other than toilet paper and human waste.

• Only rain goes down (storm) drains — outside the home, avoid pouring anything down storm drains, which are intended for rainfall only.

Thursday's sewage release was not related to Portland's billion-dollar overflow control system that is intended to keep sewage out of the Willamette River and Columbia Slough during periods of heavy rainfall.

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