State health officials closed portions of the Patapsco River in Carroll County to fishing and other recreational uses yesterday after more than 10,000 gallons of untreated sewage overflowed into a drain near the Carroll-Howard border.
A contractor's backhoe struck a sewer main in Sykesville at 10:15 a.m., rupturing the pipe and sending the sewage into a drain that leads to the river.
The rupture occurred along Sandusky Road near College Avenue, where pipes were being installed to connect water mains in the area. Carroll County crews repaired the broken pipe and diluted the sewage with water as it entered the drain, county officials said.
The river will remain closed until the state health department declares the levels of contaminants to be within a safe range. Signs about the spill and closing have been posted along the river.
Because the river flows along Howard and Baltimore counties, government agencies in both jurisdictions also were notified, as was the Maryland Department of the Environment.