Salem City Officials Respond To Untreated Sewage Overflow In Willamette River

Salem, Ore. — Salem residents were alerted to an unfortunate environmental incident yesterday, as an overflow of untreated sewage was detected in the Willamette River. The City of Salem announced that the overflow occurred at approximately 9:30 am on March 29, 2023, near Church and Union Street sewer overflow tide gate.

The overflow was detected during a routine inspection of the flow monitoring equipment at the tide gate location. It was caused by the buildup of solids in the sewer line due to low flow, which pushed the tide gate open and caused a steady stream of sewage to flow out into the river for the past four days. Although the duration of the spill was verified by a sensor on the other side of the gate, no alarm was triggered since the flow was only approximately one gallon per minute.

The incident resulted in approximately 6,800 gallons of untreated sewage being spilled into the river. However, Public Works Department crews were dispatched immediately and cleared the intrusion, stopping the overflow at approximately 10:00 am.

The City of Salem is urging residents to report any overflowing manholes or spills by calling the Public Works Department Dispatch Center at 503-588-6333. The department has also provided information on their website about Sanitary Sewer Overflows and the steps being taken to reduce these events.

The impact of the sewage overflow on the environment and local wildlife is currently unknown, and the City of Salem is continuing to monitor the situation closely. The incident serves as a reminder of the importance of responsible waste management practices and the need for ongoing efforts to protect the health of our waterways.