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City pipe that spewed raw sewage into Red River fixed again, but issues persist

Red River Sewage Spill
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After an initial unsuccessful attempt to stop a major pipe leak that spewed millions of litres of untreated sewage into the Red River, the city said the leak was once again repaired, but issues persist.

Michael Jack, the city’s chief administrative officer, said the issue with the bypass pumping system at the Fort Garry Bridge was resolved Friday morning.

“We’ve had people working 24/7 on this, including divers who we’ve required to do any of the work under the water dealing with this. We’ve now got this resolved. Sewage is not being spilled into the river anymore,” he said.

Jack says crews are monitoring the pumping system, and more work will be done to make sure there are no more spills in the future.

However, a spokesperson for the city said shortly after 3 p.m. that the situation is dynamic, and the emergency bypass system is still experiencing intermittant issues. 

"Our crews are hard at work trying to fix the mechanical issues so that the bypass system is up and running continuously," the spokesperson said in a statement. "When the bypass is off due to the mechanical issues, we spill sewage into the river.:

The spokesperson said as of Friday at 12 a.m., an estimated 191.8 million litres of untreated sewage has spilled into the river.   

The leak initially began at 7 a.m. on Feb. 7 - two days after crews started working on a bypass pumping system to replace the pipe.

The system was operating Wednesday night but experienced mechanical issues, causing more sewage to spill into the river.

The city notes that this spill is linked to an incident from November 2023, when it was determined that one of the two river crossing pipes that service this location had a leak.

It was immediately taken out of service. The other pipe was also found to be in poor condition, but could still handle the flow across the river.

According to the city, both pipes were installed in 1970 and are used to direct sewage flow from southwest Winnipeg to the South End Sewage Treatment Plant.

- With files from CTV’s Kayla Rosen

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