More Raw Sewage Finds Way to Bay

Rainwater overflows Richmond plant

For the second week in a row, a major sewage spill has occurred in San Francisco Bay. This time it was a sewage plant in Richmond that, overflowed by rainwater, spilled an estimated 890,000 gallons.

Last week, a Marin wastewater treatment plant spilled more than 500,000 gallons of partially treated sewage into the bay thanks to leaky pipe.

In this case, water and sewage spilled over a retaining wall which is designed to allow a spill when capacity is exceeded.

The problem was caused by runoff leaking into the sewage system, causing a flood of liquid into the plant's holding pond.

Most of the spill was rainwater, assured Mark Grushayev, program manager for the Veolia Water company which runs the plant under contract with the city of Richmond.

Still, beachgoers are advised to stay out of the water along much of the shoreline by East Bay Regional Parks officials.

All told, that makes nearly 1.5 million gallons of pollution flowing into the bay so far this month.

Regularly occurring spills can lead to eutrophication, causing dense algae blooms that block light and decrease the oxygenation of the water, causing die-offs of marine species like fish and mollusks. Photo by Tom Sayles.

Jackson West figures this is yet another sign of crumbling American infrastructure.

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