Two major sewage spills within one week
Photo by Luke
By James Lanaras
February 6, 2008
More than 2 million gallons of partially treated sewage were
released from a Mill Valley treatment plant into Richardson Bay
on Jan. 25, six days before the same plant's 2.7- million-gallon
release Thursday evening, the San Francisco Bay Regional Water
Board revealed late yesterday afternoon.
The Sewerage Agency of Southern Marin's 2.45-million-gallon spill
occurred on Jan. 25 at approximately 7:30 p.m., the water board
said in a news release. The previous release was disclosed yesterday
in correspondence from the Sewerage Agency of Southern Marin to
the Regional Water Board.
The Sewerage Agency of Southern Marin used an incorrect date
in reporting the earlier spill to the Regional Water Board staff
and it appeared the spill was fully dispersed by the time the
staff became aware of the spill, the Regional Water Board said.
The Sewerage Agency of Southern Marin reported the 2.45-million-gallon
spill to the San Francisco Bay Regional Water Board by e-mail
at 11:37 a.m. Jan. 26, but incorrectly gave the date of the spill
as Jan. 15 and did not provide an estimate of the volume spilled,
according to the Regional Water Board.
A Regional Water Board staff member received the Jan. 26 e-mail
on Monday, Jan. 28, and believes the spill is "historic,
not contemporary and does not follow up," the Regional Water
On Wednesday, Jan. 30, the Regional Water Board received notification
by conventional mail from the Sewerage Agency of Southern Marin
that contained the correct date of the spill but the Regional
Water Board staff member did not detect the error in the date.
The second sewage spill of 2.7 million gallons occurred between
5:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. from the Sewerage Agency of Southern Marin's
Mill Valley treatment plant into Richardson Bay via Arroyo Corte
Madera del Presidio.
A San Francisco Bay Regional Water Board staff member today detected
the error in the initial report of the Jan. 25 spill and notified
superiors, the Regional Water Board said.
"The Regional Water Board is investigating all aspects of
its failure in this incident. It will also continue with investigation
and enforcement action against the Sewerage Agency," the
Regional Water Board said in its statement.
Regional Water Board Executive Officer Bruce Wolfe said, "This
revelation that there was a second significant spill in Marin
during the course of one week is alarming. We will, of course,
investigate the Sewerage Agency's failures, and at the same time
we will ask for an independent review."
The Regional Water Board is also investigating the staff member's
action, the Regional Water Board said.
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