Rain sends Albany sewage into Willamette River

ALBANY, Ore. - Hundreds of thousands of gallons of sewage flowed into Willamette River and other waterways as heavy rains and electrical problems hit the City of Albany on Thursday.

The public is encouraged to avoid contact with creeks and rivers around Albany until at least 7 p.m. Friday night, the City of Albany said Friday afternoon.

The city public works staff posted signs at spill sites warning the public about the hazard. An estimated 350,000 gallons of sewage overflowed into creeks and rivers at multiple sites.

Heavy rain and lightning are to blame.

Power problems at a pumping station sent sewage into Murder Creek for 90 minutes, the city said. Lightning strikes caused power fluctuations at other key wastewater collection sites, the city said.

And the rain overwhelmed the system, causing sewage to overflow into Cathey Creek and the Willamette River, the city said.

A National Weather Service spotter recorded 4.34 inches of rain Thursday in Albany. The rain gauge at City Hall recorded 3 inches of rain between 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. alone.