The Presumpscot River is now flowing around and through the landslide that blocked the river in Westbrook last week. Roger McCord for the Portland Press Herald

Westbrook officials said Monday that the state of emergency declared after a landslide blocked the Presumpscot River last Wednesday is being allowed to expire.

Mayor Michael Foley said the river “began to find its own course” and was flowing enough on Monday that the risk of flooding had ended.

An area estimated at 300-feet by-300-feet – the equivalent of two football fields or two acres – collapsed and slid into the river Wednesday morning, taking with it trees and soil. The landslide, which happened directly behind Les Wilson & Sons excavators at 161 Warren Ave., also took a large area of soil, a pile of fill, and a salt shed, in addition to damaging construction equipment.

The landslide blocked the river temporarily, and the water level behind the blockage quickly rose about 13 feet. The river level has since dropped as water found its way around and through the landslide debris.

It is still not clear what, if any, work will be done to stabilize the riverbank and remove trees or sediment that has covered the river bottom and filled the river with mud.

During a meeting in Westbrook Saturday, officials from the Army Corps of Engineers told city, county and state officials that the landslide was “a naturally occurring incident,” Foley said, and it was “best to let nature take its course.”

“They have advised long-term solutions for the river could be pursued, though they do not currently recommend any immediate action,” Foley said.

At the same time, he said, the area remains potentially unstable and unsafe and the state is monitoring environmental impacts such as water quality and damage to aquatic habitats.

A spokesman for the Army Corps of Engineers said the federal team came to Westbrook to provide assistance and make recommendations, but was still assessing the situation.

“From what I understand, information is still being gathered and assessed,” Bryan Purtell said in an email Monday.

Foley declared a state of emergency shortly after the landslide and extended it once. A special meeting that had been scheduled for Monday night to ask the City Council to extend it was canceled.

Staff Writer Megan Gray contributed to this story.

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