The Portland Bureau of Environmental Services won’t know until Tuesday exactly how much sewage spilled this weekend into the Willamette River, a spokesman said Monday.

Record-setting rain flooded Portland’s combined sewer and stormwater system Saturday, sending untreated sewage into the Willamette for the second time this winter.

Portland recorded nearly 1.8 inches of rain Saturday. Total rainfall easily surpassed 2.1 inches in a 24-hour period, the standard by which Portland’s sewer agency is judged for environmental compliance.

Overflows were reported system wide, from Cathedral Park in North Portland to the Sellwood Bridge near the city’s southern border.

Officials generally recommend staying out of the Willamette for 48 hours after an overflow. But because rains continued through Sunday, a city spokesman extended that recommendation through Tuesday afternoon.

Portland spent about $1.4 billion on its Big Pipe project to limit sewage overflows into the Willamette.

Before the project, Portland averaged about 50 spills each year. Now, officials expect no more than four overflows between Nov. 1 and April 30, and one every third summer.

With the latest storm, Portland has now recorded 11 overflows since Nov. 2011. The most recent spill occurred Dec. 4. Portland’s system also experienced a summer overflow Oct. 22.



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