Thursday, February 07, 2008

Another Assault (Updated)

"Just a drop in a bucket."
[click photo]

Update 2/7/08:

Yesterday it was reported that last weeks sewage spill was actually the second in a series of spills. On January 25th 2.5 million gallons of raw sewage was released into the same creek as the second spill. KTVU TV reports:
The head of the state Environmental Protection Agency Wednesday called for independent review of the regional water board after an investigation revealed a second major sewage spill into the San Francisco Bay. State water officials said their investigation had revealed that last week's spill of 2.7-million gallons of partially treated sewage into the Bay was preceded by the release of about 2.5 million gallons of virtually raw sewage during a storm on Jan. 25. The Sewerage Agency of Southern Marin reported the first spill to the state Regional Water Quality Control board, which oversees the water treatment plant in Mill Valley. But the Marin agency did not report to state officials how much sewage was released and used an incorrect date.
Linda Adams, who heads the state Environmental Protection Agency, wants an independent review of the regional water board because it failed to immediately investigate the first sewage spill."Although it appears that the Sewerage Agency failed in its responsibility to report the original incident as required by state law, the Regional Board staff apparently missed at least two opportunities to investigate the matter," Adams wrote in a letter to Regional Water Board Executive Officer Bruce Wolfe. "I respectfully request that you immediately authorize a thorough and independent investigation of the Regional Board's standard operating procedures concerning emergencies of this nature," the letter read.
The original post follows....

Once again San Francisco Bay is under assault by the byproducts of civilization. This past Thursday a combination of sewage and storm water, 2.7 million gallons of it, poured into Richardson Bay which opens into San Francisco Bay between Sausilito and Tiburon.

The Raw Story has this to report:

The accidental release occurred Thursday night when rainwater overwhelmed the facility and an emergency alarm system failed, Marin County officials said Friday.

County health officials are warning the public to avoid fishing or touching water in or around Richardson Bay, an arm of San Francisco Bay that stretches between Tiburon and Sausalito.

Officials have posted signs warning of possible contamination at beaches and waterfronts along Richardson Bay. They are also conducting tests near the accident site to determine the extent of the spill and possible public health issues.

The spill happened after a worker at the treatment plant failed to turn on enough pumps to handle the amount of water flowing into the facility during a storm, said Stephen Danehy of the Sewerage Agency of Southern Marin. Staff had gone home when the alarm was triggered around 4:30 p.m.

The emergency telephone notification service the facility uses for nighttime alerts also failed, leaving a voicemail for an on-duty staffer, he said.

The problem wasn't discovered until an off-duty worker checked the facility's status remotely on the Internet around 8 p.m., Danehy said. The overflow was fixed a half-hour later.

Yet another incident caused by human error helping to damage the bay.

At least we can be encouraged since:
Danehy said most of the wastewater that flooded into the bay has been carried out by the tides, and that there will likely be little other cleanup needed.

"In the grand scheme of things, 2 million gallons is a lot of water," he said. "But going into the area where it drained into, it was a drop in the bucket. And this was diluted and treated, to some degree."


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