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Rain causes 23,000 gal. of sewage to spill into Willamette River

File KATU photo

The heavy weekend rain caused thousands of gallons of sewage to spill into the Willamette River, the City of Portland said.

The city’s Department of Environmental Services said an estimated 23,000 gallons of sewage flowed from the overtaxed sewer system.

Department spokesperson Diane Dulken said their $1.4 billion "Big Pipe" project drastically cut down on overflows, but it wasn't designed to stop all of the sewage from going in the river. They expect about four overflows each year.

It's something some Portlanders tell KATU News they're not too concerned about, and City officials say the problem is too expensive to fix.

"94 percent of these overflows have been eliminated. To get to 100 percent control would have double the cost for repairs without significantly improving river health,” said Dulken. “It would have eliminated about four events per year, mostly during periods of fall or winter.”

The City is asking people to stay out of the Willamette for about two days.

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