End in sight after 100,000 gallons of sewage spilled into Seneca River

Crews work to repair the sewage pump in Lysander Monday afternoon.

After three days of working feverishly to prevent more raw sewage from entering the Seneca River in the Town of Lysander, an end is in sight.

Onondaga County Water Environment Commissioner Tom Rhodes tells CNY Central's Jim Kenyon that the county is in the process of shipping a high pressure valve from Massachusetts and hopes to have it installed on Tuesday. Rhodes says the valve will allow crews to bypass the flow of sewage from a pump station along Seneca River. He says the county can then complete repairs to the broken pipe, which could take another week.

Rhodes says heavy rains on Sunday caused about 100,000 gallons of untreated sewage to enter the river. The sewer pipe broke on Saturday prompting the county to put out a reverse 9-1-1 call to area residents warning them of the unsanitary conditions and advising them against swimming, boating or fishing in a section of the Seneca River extending for about a mile.

The pump station along the river handles about 800,000 gallons of sewage a day. To prevent any more sewage from flowing toward the river, Onondaga County has hired local companies with licenses to haul sewage to collect the sewage in tanker trucks and dispose of it in a manhole on Route 31 where it will make its way to a sewage treatment plant in Baldwinsville.

Rhodes figures the total cost of the repair "will run north of $200,000." Rhodes asked the public to "understand the need to refrain from direct contact" with that part of the Seneca River.