Sewer Pipe Collapse Caused Discharge In Newport City

This untreated sewer discharge notice was posted in several places around Newport City to alert residents. Anyone with questions was asked to contact Public Works Supervisor Tom Bernier at 323-9734.

NEWPORT CITY — A sewer pipe partially collapsed on Glen Road Saturday evening, leading to a discharge of an unknown amount of sewage.

The break caused sewage to bubble up through the pavement every time the pump stations turned on, Public Works Director Thomas Bernier said.

The discharge began at 6:13 p.m. Saturday. Workers were able to stop the discharge at 8:45 a.m. Sunday and then make repairs on the system throughout the day.

The city estimates that between 10,000 and 100,000 gallons may have leaked, although city officials only know that pumps handled 55,000 gallons during the time the sewage was running through the pipes.

The eight-inch pipe was not completely blocked, so some sewage remained in the system, leading to the uncertainty about the amount.

The work on the collapsed pipe was conducted Sunday, due to the difficulty and safety concerns of city crew members working in the dark Saturday night, according to a memo by Bernier and city manager Laura Dolgin to the Newport City Council.

The sewage went into a catch basin in the stormwater collection system. It was not related to the combined stormwater overflow system, Bernier said.

Bernier said repair crews had to deal with another complete blockage Sunday, due to the age and deterioration of the pipes in that area. Bernier noted that the city had made repairs to sewer pipe in that area a couple of years ago.

The latest failure is prompting an assessment of the integrity of the pipes there, which he said were installed in the 1960s.

The details about the leak were posted as required with the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources, which put the discharge details on its incident websites.

Bernier said he also posted notices as required by the state at locations on the waterfront: at the boat launch at Landing Street, at Gardner Park’s boat launch, Prouty Beach and the Gateway Center.

The notices warned residents and boaters about the discharge and discouraged swimming.

The discharge had nothing to do with the flooding experienced in the past week in Gardner Park. Flooding has not affected the waste water treatment plant on the Clyde River at one end of the park, Bernier said.

The city work crew was rebuilding Glen Road Monday when a high-speed chase went through, with law enforcement in pursuit of a driver behind the wheel of a stolen car, Bernier said.

He said it was lucky that a large piece of equipment had just moved out of the roadway before the driver went through at a high speed. Bernier said his workers could have been badly injured.

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