Raw sewage leaked into Susquehanna after Harrisburg sinkholes formed

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The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection confirmed Friday nearly 2,500 gallons of raw sewage leaked into the Susquehanna River last week after large sinkholes formed on North 4th Street.

DEP spokeswoman Amanda Witman said the agency did not directly attribute the spill to the sinkhole issue. However, city spokesman Bob Philbin said in an email, “This was a minor event resulting from the 4th Street incident and was addressed quickly and reported to DEP.”

Witman confirmed the city contacted DEP within the required time.

She said 1,913 gallons of raw sewage leaked into the river January 1. Another 574 gallons spilled into the river January 3, she said.

“That only contributes .0001 percent of the total effluent going into the river, so it’s a very, very small amount that we’re talking (about),” Witman said.

Witman said mud and silt caused a “dry weather overflow” after building up at a sewage overflow chamber underground near the intersection of Woodbine and Green streets, a few blocks from the sinkholes.

Witman said her agency is having ongoing talks with the city with regards to infrastructure improvements to prevent spills. She said residents in the area shouldn’t be concerned about health impacts.

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