Water treatment plant releases sewage into Rogue River amid heavy rains

The Grants Pass water treatment plant released thousands of gallons of raw sewage into the Rogue River over a period of hours.

Posted: Apr 9, 2019 5:29 PM
Updated: Apr 9, 2019 5:44 PM

GRANTS PASS, Ore. — City employees released some 84,000 gallons of untreated sewage into the Rogue River on Monday as Southern Oregon received a deluge of rainfall that threatened to overwhelm the Grants Pass Water Treatment Plant.

According to City of Grants Pass officials, the release happened over a period of about seven hours between Monday afternoon and evening.

On an average day, the Water Treatment Plant receives about five million gallons of sewage and waste water from Grants Pass. Over Monday, officials said that the plant saw more than 20 million gallons — enough to completely overwhelm the aging facility.

CLICK HERE for our story on the Water Treatment Plant and why officials worry that it could fail entirely.

"It was a very small percentage. We're very concerned about overflows and we're doing everything in our power to prevent overflows . . . we were just overwhelmed with rainfall," said Public Works Director Jason Canady.

Canady said that if the plant hadn't released that sewage into the river, the plant would have overflowed, sending sewage running spilling across the ground and into the city.

This isn't the first time this year that the plant has had to release raw sewage into the river — a similar situation occurred back in February. Canady said that overflows like this generally happen about once per year.

According to Canady, there are plans in the works to keep this overflow from happening as often.

Undoubtedly, this issue and a number of others add fuel for the City's grab for land currently occupied by Copeland Sand & Gravel in order to build a brand new Water Treatment Plant — a process that has yet to play out in full.

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