SPRING CITY — An 80-year-old sewer line beneath Main Street fractured Wednesday night, spilling an unknown amount of raw sewage into a stream feeding the Schuylkill River.

Edward L. Gillette Jr., president and principal engineer for the borough's engineering firm, Environmental Engineering and Management Associate Inc., said the break was first reported Wednesday night.

It was not until Thursday afternoon that the repairs to the 8-inch force main were being completed.

The break was in front of 135 Main St., just south of the intersection with Yost Avenue.

Main Street was closed so the crew could work and all traffic diverted onto Yost Avenue.

Gillette said the pipe has the capacity to carry 200,000 gallons of sewage per day.

Although an official estimate for the amount of untreated sewage spilled into the creek was not yet available, Gillette acknowledged its possible as much as half the pipe's capacity spilled into the stream.

That stream ultimately empties into the Schuylkill River, a drinking water source for communities downstream, including the City of Philadelphia.

Gillette said the break occurred where the the sewer pipe bridges a deep stone stormwater arch, "which is something we would never do today, but was not uncommon 80 years ago when this pipe was laid."

He confirmed representatives from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection had been to the site, and that the repairs were being made to that agency's standards.

Borough Manager Dennis Rittenhouse was not available to answer additional questions when a reporter stopped by borough hall Thursday afternoon.

As of 5 p.m. Thursday, he had not responded to questions emailed to him subsequent to the borough hall visit.

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