Sewer main break closes Route 252 in Valley Forge Park

TREDYFFRIN — Millions of gallons of raw sewage were released into a small creek near Valley Forge National Historical Park after a sewer main broke Tuesday.

Crews worked Wednesday to replace the damaged pipe that is sending raw sewage into nearby Valley Creek. Public Works officials expected the repair to be complete by 4 p.m. Wednesday, however, Valley Creek Road will remain closed until Thursday.

As for drinking water, “there is no impact,” Aqua spokeswoman Donna Alston said Wednesday. According to Alston, the spill occurred below their nearest intake.

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A division of the water company, Aqua Wastewater Management, has been hired to haul away what Pa. Conservation officer Bob Bonney called 4 million to 5 million gallons of “raw sewage.” Bonney confirmed no dead fish have been found in the creek.

Alston said several Aqua trucks have been at the scene but only in a cleanup capacity.

Alan Roth, director of operations for Aqua Pa. and Aqua resources, said Aqua’s trucks are able to vacuum up the sewage water and then hall it away to a nearby treatment facility.

As of about 1 p.m. Wednesday Roth estimated that his trucks made 40 trips from the site of the sewage break to the waste treatment facility. Each truck carries about 5,000 gallons, meaning about 200,000 gallons of waste has been removed.

As of 1 p.m. Wednesday Roth estimated that his trucks have made 40 trips from the site of the sewage break to the waste treatment facility. Each truck caries about 5,000 gallons, meaning about 200,000 gallons of waste has been removed.

Some of the sewage that has flowed into the nearby Valley Creek is flowing into the Schuykill River. Although Aqua has no water intake facilities downstream, Philadelphia does.

Roth said the waste will dilute as it travels downstream. The water intake plants further downstream for Philadelphia have been notified to take the proper steps.

Charles Haas, an environmental engineer at Drexel University, agreed with the assessment.

“I don’t anticipate any environmental impact on drinking water supplies downstream, especially in Philadelphia,” Haas said “There is a very high factor of dilution.”

According to Haas, there are several other tributaries entering the river before Philadelphia, such as Trout Run, Wissahickon Creek and Mill Creek.

“I expect that the concentrations will be diluted several hundred times by the time that flow gets to Philadelphia,” Haas said.

On the other hand, Haas said there still needs to be testing done to see whether the ecology has been affected by the spill.

The monitoring should also continue for the upcoming trout fishing season that begins next month since Valley Creek is used for fishing.

Fire police, park rangers and personnel from the Tredyffrin Township Public Works Department closed off a section of road Tuesday and redirected traffic near the intersection of Valley Creek Road and Valley Forge Road (Route 252) in Valley Forge National Historical Park.

According to a township public works official, a call was made from the water company just after 10:30 a.m. Tuesday regarding a water main break on Valley Creek Road.

This is the third break in a year and a half for the three-and-a-half-mile water main that stretches from the Wilson Street pumping station in Tredyffrin to the wastewater treatment center in Phoenixville. According to Bonney, the pipe was installed in the 1970s.

Calls to Tredyffrin Township Wednesday were not immediately returned.

The following roads were closed as a result of the sewer main break:

Route 23 eastbound from Ferry Lane/Country Club Road to Route 252 is closed

Route 23 westbound from Gulph Road to Route 252 is closed. The portion of Route 23 that runs through the park, from the lighted intersection at North Gulph Road to Gulph Road, is open.

Route 252 from Yellow Springs Road to Route 23 is closed. Northbound traffic on Route 252 must turn left onto Yellow Springs Road at the Covered Bridge.

Oscar Gamble and Andy Stettler contributed to this article.

EARLIER VERSION OF THIS STORY

TREDYFFRIN — Public works employees are replacing a damaged sewer main that broke Tuesday on Route 252 near Valley Creek Road.

The main break caused the closures of several roads around Valley Forge National Park, causing rush hour backups Tuesday evening and Wednesday morning.

According to Bob Bonney of the Pennsylvania Department of Natural Resources and Conservation, the raw sewage flowing into Valley Creek has not caused any fish kills. An estimated 4 million to 5 million gallons of sewage has entered the creek since the sewer main broke Tuesday.

According to officials at the scene, the damaged sewer pipe was installed in the 1970s.

The following roads are currently closed as a result of the sewer main break:

Route 23 eastbound from Ferry Lane/Country Club Road to Route 252 is closed.

Route 23 westbound from Gulph Road to Route 252 is closed. The portion of Route 23 that runs through the park, from the lighted intersection at North Gulph Road to Gulph Road, is open.

Route 252 from Yellow Springs Road to Route 23 is closed. Northbound traffic on Rpute 252 must turn left onto Yellow Springs Road at the covered bridge.

The road closures are expected to be in place through Thursday.

Check back here for updates.

— By Digital First Media Staff