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20,000 gallons of sewage spills into Little Butte Creek

Officials warn of contamination; cold temperatures may be culprit
 Posted: 2:00 AM December 11, 2013

EAGLE POINT — About 20,000 gallons of raw sewage spilled into Little Butte Creek Monday after a Rogue Valley Sewer Services pump station failed, creating a potential public health risk there, RVSS said.

Raw sewage flowed for about an hour into the creek from the pump station at 101 Old Highway 62 in Eagle Point before it was stopped and contained, according to RVSS.

Jennie Morgan, stormwater program coordinator, said technicians believe cold temperatures caused the pump to fail.

RVSS and the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality caution the spill area may present a temporary risk to public health. Crews have cleaned up debris and disinfected the spill area, according to RVSS.

Signs warning against contact with the creek water were placed Monday at Harnish Wayside Park along Highway 62 in Eagle Point, Morgan said.

Morgan collected water samples along the Rogue River at TouVelle State Park, which is immediately downstream of the creek's confluence with the Rogue. They will be tested for E. coli, and once the tests come back clean, the warning signs will be removed, she said.

"We're pretty sure it's dissipated quite a bit already," Morgan said from the field Monday evening.

Little Butte Creek is home to spawning wild summer steelhead as well as wild coho salmon, which are listed as threatened under the federal Endangered Species Act.

There was no immediate word whether any environmental damage occurred from the spill.

Further details about the spill were not available Tuesday.

Reach Mail Tribune reporter Mark Freeman at 541-776-4470, or email at mfreeman@mailtribune.com.


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