Sewage bubbled over a manhole cover on Wednesday morning (July 27) near the visitor’s center in Santa Rita Park in Durango, Colo., after it became clogged by pieces of rubber hose from an recreational vehicle using the center’s dump station, The Durango Herald reported.
Two city Public Works Department trucks responded after a rafter walking by saw the overflow. One piece of the hose that caused the backup was about 2 feet long. Sewage also puddled in the grassy ground a few yards away from the dumping station platform.
The RV that broke the hose was not present.
A worker cordoned off the area, and by around noon, the clog had been cleared.
“It doesn’t look as if any of the sewage got into the river,” said Sherri Dugdale, a city spokeswoman. “The crews washed down the affected areas with clean water.”
The cause of this spill was easier to locate and contain than the sewage that bled into the Animas River the weekend of July 15, when about 300,000 gallons of sewage went into the river. But in Santa Rita Park, officials felt confident the contamination had not reached the river.
The park has a free dump station where RVs are allowed to empty their holding tanks. Dugdale said Public Works crews proactively clean about 30 miles of sewer lines each year to prevent problems and “responded to 55 sewer calls last year. Out of that, only two or three are for the RV dump station.”
Several RV parks in the Durango area and La Plata County have dump stations owners can use for a fee if the driver wants to clean the tank without staying the night.
At Vallecito Resort, the dumping station is free if the RV owner spends the night.
“We charge an RV owner $8 if he just wants to use the dumping station,” Vallecito owner Dave Lipsiea said. “Problems are very rare. We used to get the occasional person who would flush a diaper into their tank, but most RV owners today are very aware of good maintenance.”