NW Bend contractor cuts gas, sewer lines

Some sewage reaches river; Archie Briggs Road closed

BEND, Ore. - A private contractor installing communications lines in northwest Bend cut a natural gas line and a pressurized sewer line Friday afternoon, causing service interruptions, a small raw-sewage spill that partly reached the Deschutes River and the closure of Archie Briggs Road, officials said.

Around 2 p.m., the contractor hit a one-inch Cascade Natural Gas service line, resulting in a roughly 90-minute outage to two customers, said utility spokesman Tim Rasmussen in Bismarck, N.D.

While boring under Archie Briggs Road, the firm also cut a pressure sewer line buried about three feet deep, said Bend Public Works Director Paul Rheault.

"We probably spilled about 400 gallons of raw sewage" before the line was capped, which took "probably 10 minutes," Rheault said. "Some sewage did make it the river, but I doubt very much it will make much difference (in water quality), with the river flowing as high as it is."

Archie Briggs Road was closed at the bridge over the Deschutes for hours due to the incident, he said.

The owner of the contracting company, who asked not to be identified, told NewsChannel 21 they had called in a "locate" for the area through the Utility Notification Center, as required. But he said the lines were not accurately marked by CNG, which marks natural gas lines, or the city, which marks sewer line locations.

Rheault said the spill requires a report to the state DEQ under the sanitary overflow program, part of a series of steps that also apparently will involve water samples taken upstream and downstream , "to make sure there are no harmful effects."

"Fridays haven't been good to us," Rheault said, noting that there have been water or sewer line breaks reported on six of the past eight Fridays.

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