Winery Garbage Floods Russian River

By Matt Baume
|  Monday, Jan 31, 2011  |  Updated 7:16 AM PDT
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Winery Garbage Floods Russian River

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During the peak of the summer, medical waste dumped along the Jersey Shore closed down beaches in Avalon 5 times.

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The banks of the Russian River might be a nice place to sit down and have a nice picnic, maybe with a bottle of champagne -- or at least, it used it be.

An old vineyard dump is slowly sinking into the river, with decades of debris washing downstream.

Korbel hasn't used its dump in years, but eroding riverbanks are cutting into the aging trash heap and debris is finding its way into the water, according to the Press Democrat.

High water last month has left debris hanging high from branches all along the riverbank.

The ribbon of garbage has reached at least five miles downstream.

For its part, Korbel plans to remove the dump later in the spring. Some observers were under the impression that the company had already dealt with the site in the late 90s. It's unclear what the company will do to reduce the amount of garbage that has already escaped into the water.

But river stewards aren't waiting. They're heading out in boats right away to pick up bottles, plastic, and sheeting. Regional water quality and fishing officials are also monitoring the situation.

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