A large volume of sewage, which could be approaching 1 million gallons, spilled into a Southeast Baltimore creek throughout Thursday, said a Department of Public Works official.

The overflow started about 8 a.m., coming from a pipe that leads to an underground vault in the 2200 block of Broening Highway and flowing into Colgate Creek, said DPW spokeswoman Celeste Amato.

Public Works is working to re-route the sewage flow until the spillage stops, she said. When flow levels decrease enough, the department will be able to diagnose the cause of the overflow and provide a final estimate of the total spill volume.

Baltimore has separate systems for sewage and stormwater, Amato said, but the sewage system is aging and during heavy rain cracks allow stormwater into sewer pipes. The sewer system is being upgraded, Amato said.

Last week, Hurricane Irene caused a sewer main to rupture in the Baltimore Highlands area southwest of the city and pour about 100 million gallons of raw sewage into the lower Patapsco River.

The Maryland Department of the Environment and the Baltimore City Health Department have been notified of the overflow. For more information about health concerns because of overflows, contact the Health Department at 410-396-4422.

steve.kilar@baltsun.com

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