Sewage overflow in C&O Canal park again, officials warn to stay away

WASHINGTON, D.C. (WJLA) - D.C. Water is investigating a possible sanitary sewer overflow overnight in C & O Canal National Historical Park.

According to D.C. Water, such a situation occurs when diluted, untreated wastewater spills or overflows, and can be caused by excessive rainfall.

Due to the overflow, the Capital Crescent Trail is closed to the public between Water Street in Georgetown and Fletcher’s Cove.

The National Park Service recommends using the C&O Canal Tow Path as an alternate route in this location, but cautions that portions of the Tow Path prone to flooding may be closed farther upstream. Water levels are expected to peak Saturday afternoon.

In coordination with the National Park Service and U.S. Park Police, D.C. Water is cordoning off the affected areas and the public is reminded to respect these public health and safety closures.

"Untreated sewage can contain many pathogens causing a variety of illnesses ranging from e-coli to hepatitis. If people come in contact with the untreated overflow they risk getting sick and bringing these pathogens into their homes," D.C. Water officials said in a statement Friday.

Officials clarified that D.C. Water’s drinking water system is separate from the wastewater system and is not affected by the overflows.

"D.C. Water’s intake valves are on the Potomac River at Great Falls and Little Falls, far north of the district," the statement read.

D.C. Water has mobilized repair crews and contractors and said they will "take immediate action to decontaminate impacted areas of the park."

In addition, they are investigating to determine the cause for this and a prior overflow on April 30, they said.