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The Clatskanie Sewer Plant is no longer discharging partially treated waste water into the Clatskanie River, according to city officials.

The waste water is being diverted to an older holding tank on the property while the malfunctioning equipment is repaired, City Manager Greg Hinkelman said.

After a sweep arm stopped working last week, there was some intermittent discharge of partially treated waste water into the river west of the city. Hinkelman said it was not raw sewage, and it does not pose any serious health risks.

Hinkelman said repair workers will work at the plant this weekend to fix the problem. He estimates it will cost around $50,000, though he doesn’t yet know exactly what the problem is.

In the meantime, the plant is diverting the waste water to an older holding unit on the property, which is part of the plant’s emergency plan. Hinkelman said the city got a special permit from the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality to do so, and it has not discharged any tainted water since Sunday.

“We’re hoping we can keep things contained and not do another intermittent discharge until we get the sweep arm fixed,” Hinkelman said.

Originally, the mechanical problem was thought to be caused by the gear box, Hinkelman said, as it was older and needed to be replaced.

However, after a new gearbox was installed, the arm still would not turn. Hinkelman said the clarifier has now been completely drained to allow repair workers to have full access.

“We’ve been working furiously” to get the problem resolved, he said.

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