Workers repair a main force sewer pipe break in Scarborough, which is the cause of a shellfish harvesting closure through until Aug. 30. Courtesy photo

SCARBOROUGH — On Tuesday, Aug. 9, a sewage main force pipe break on the Eastern Trail was reported. Although the pipe was repaired the following day about 10,000 gallons of sewage over four hours was spilled, according to Scarborough Sanitary District Superintendent David Hughes.

The spill caused the Maine Department of Marine Resources to issue an emergency shellfish harvesting closure for Area No. 500.

An Aug. 11 news release from the MDMR states, “effective immediately, because of pollution, it shall be unlawful to dig, take or possess any clams, quahogs, oysters, mussels, whole or roe-on scallops from the shores, flats and waters.”

Affected areas are the Scarborough and Nonesuch Rivers — north of a line beginning at the southern tip of Prouts Neck (Scarborough) running west to the opposite shore (Surfside, Old Orchard Beach).

The area will reopen Aug. 30, according to the department’s website.

According to an incident report on the event issued by the Scarborough Sanitation Department to the Maine Department of Environmental Protection, “at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday 8/9/2022, the Scarborough police dispatch center notified our on-call operator that they had received a report of water bubbling out of the ground on the Eastern Trail near the Mill Brook culvert. The operator responded and found sanitary wastewater bubbling out of the surface and notified the District Superintendent. The superintendent mobilized a local construction company for the repair and four other District staff members to respond. In addition, seven local septage haulers were notified and one ultimately responded. … the required utilities showed up to mark their infrastructure within two hours. Once the construction contractor was on site and the other utilities were notified, the district’s pump station #1 and #2 were shut down so the repair could take place. The flow through the broken pipe was stopped at approximately 11:30 p.m. that night and the work commenced.”


“We worked through the night (with Risbara Brothers) and had it repaired by Wednesday (Aug. 10) at noon,” Hughes said.

According to Hughes the cause of the break was that “the pipe went over an old granite culvert. The culvert shifted over time putting added stress and caused a crack” in the pipe.

According to the incident report, “the broken section of pipe was removed and the repair was routed out and around the granite to ensure proper bedding, insulation and cover. Once the connections were made, pump station 2 was put back on line at 12:30 p.m. on 8/10 and the repair was checked for leaks and passed. Once the repair was determined to be watertight, pump station 1 was also put back on line and the excavating contractor backfilled the repair area. The area was cleared by all contractors and staff by 1:30 pm.”

“That repair that we made is a permanent repair,” Hughes said. “The pipe on either side (of the repair) is in excellent condition.”

Overall, Hughes said, that the pipeline of the sanitary district “is excellent.”

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