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Crews Able To Slow Excess Water That Broke Sewer Line Near Modesto

MODESTO (CBS13) — Flood water continues to impact parts of Modesto. Last week, the rising Tuolumne River forced mandatory evacuations in some parts of the city.

Late Thursday evening, the weight of the excess storm water dumped into the Tuolumne River, broke a main sewer line, and at one point threatening the city's entire sewer line.

Crews have finally been able to push back the extra river water by building a cofferdam to keep out flood water from the Don Pedro Dam.

"Earlier today, we discovered there was a break in the area inundated by river water. We are trying to stop that water," explained Robert Englent.

Englent is a manager with Waste Water Collection for the City of Modesto. He says the problem actually goes back to Tuesday when they first noticed high levels of water at the treatment plant.

"Abnormally high. We determined a lot of infiltration into the system," said Englent.

Over the past week, to keep the Don Pedro Reservoir from flooding, the spillway was opened, dumping flood water into the narrow Tuolumne River.

The water levels reached over six feet above the pipeline. That extra weight from the flood water broke the sewer line near John Thurmond Field in Modesto, just a few blocks from a main sewer treatment facility. The concern now is how the massive influx of storm water could impact, if not damage, the city's sewer system.

Late Thursday, crews were finally able to push back the river water using sandbags and building a small dam so they can go in and plug the hole.

"We built a cofferdam around the hole. We basically have the river held back now to stop the flow of water into the waste water line," said Englent.

Clearing the water out was phase one. Crews are still working to plug the hole.

Crews will monitor water levels overnight until the necessary equipment arrives on Friday morning, to allow them to complete the job.

Meanwhile, Englent says they were able to find the problem before it did any damage to the treatment plant or the city's sewer lines.

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