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Sewage pumped into river as crews work to repair 2 breaks in pipe

By 69 News, follow: @69news, news@wfmz.com
Published On: Sep 14 2011 10:34:22 AM CDT

It's double trouble for crews trying to repair a broken sewer main in southwest Reading.

READING, Pa. -

A broken pipe is pumping millions more gallons of sewage into the Schuylkill River as crews repair the break.

They began their work Tuesday, several days after the break was discovered on the west bank of the river in Reading. Another break was then found.

Repairs to the pair of breaks were delayed because last week's heavy rain made the river level too high for workers to do the job safely.

The crews hope to finish their first repair later Wednesday and the second fix by Friday, said Charlie Jones, director of Reading Public Works.

In the meantime, Jones said he expects the city will have to pump about 16 million gallons of sewage into the Schuylkill, which serves as a source of drinking water for Pottstown and Philadelphia, to relieve pressure in the pipes.

That's about the same amount of sewage that had to be pumped into the river during repairs to the last break, which happened about two weeks ago, Jones said. The pipe also broke in 2008, leaking 20 million gallons of sewage into the Schuylkill.

The 60-year-old pipe is due to be replaced, but the $15 million project isn't expected to start until March.