Faulty valve causes sewage backup at Port

Faulty valve causes sewage backup at Port

A water system failure at the Port of Walla Walla Airport District shot more than 300,000 gallons of potable water into the sewer system in a pre-Thanksgiving blowout that ended with a sewer system backup.

Walla Walla Regional Airport Manager Jennifer Skoglund said a bad solenoid valve was to blame for the drainage.

For about 7½ hours, water that normally pumps into the Port’s tower and shuts off automatically instead spewed out and ran into the sewer system.

She said rags later discovered in the sewer contributed to a backup that built so much pressure it lifted manhole covers and left one tenant with raw sewage on the floor of the business.

The wreckage was discovered Wednesday morning and prompted a discussion Monday of adding an alarm to the system, like the Port already has on its utilities in Burbank and Wallula.

Skoglund said cleanup help was immediately deployed. Tenant Ensemble Cellars faced the brunt of the damage, though its high concrete stemwalls left it with clean drywall, and its lifted wine barrels were untouched.

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