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Sewer discharge

A sewer discharge is attended to Wednesday on Chapman Avenue in Auburn. 

AUBURN — For five and a half hours, sewage flowed from a manhole on Chapman Avenue Wednesday morning in Auburn, according to an alert issued by the state.

The street has been blocked off between crossroads Quill Avenue and Worden Avenue as crews work to make more permanent repairs. The section of the street will hopefully re-open Friday, said Auburn Municipal Utilities Director Seth Jensen.

According to the alert, root intrusion construction on Chapman Avenue for a replacement line was already in progress before the discharge was reported. Residents were cautioned to avoid the area. The discharge rate was estimated at 690 gallons per minute.

Under the 2013 Sewage Pollution Right to Know Act, New York municipalities with publicly-owned treatment works or sewer systems must report any untreated or partially treated discharge to the state within two hours. Municipalities are required to report the same information to the public within four hours of the incident. The state alert for Wednesday's incident was issued at 9:20 a.m. and it said the event started at 2:05 a.m.

"From time to time, issues in that area have happened," Jensen said.

Wednesday morning's "brief overflow" was contained and maintained, said Jensen. Centro Bus, the Auburn school district and local emergency officers have been notified of the road closure. 

Wet weather conditions — a common overflow instigator — led to the discharge. When sewers are met with significant amounts of rainfall or snow melt, they're designed to overflow into a waterbody. The state alert reported Oak Creek was affected by the discharge. Jensen said Oak Creek is not in the Owasco Lake watershed, so the city's drinking water supply was not jeopardized.

"Oak Creek runs underground from Chapman Avenue until it daylights just behind the (former) Walgreens building at the intersection of Genesee Street and Columbus Street," Jensen said. 

From the intersection, the creek flows to Crane Brook, where it eventually leads to the Seneca River.

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Sewage discharge overflows in Auburn

A manhole on Chapman Avenue in Auburn gets attention after a sewage discharge overflow Wednesday morning. 

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Staff writer Dan Orzechowski can be reached at (315) 282-2239 or dan.orzechowski@lee.net. Follow him on Twitter @OrzechowskiDan.

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City government reporter