50K Gallons Of Sewage Spilled Into Estuary After PG&E Outage Impacts West Oakland Water Treatment Plant

Published On August 16, 2020 | By Bay City News Service | Breaking News & Alerts, Environment & Sustainability, News & Commentary

EBMUD issued its second alert this week that potentially impacts Emeryville residents. The first being the water main breaks in Northern Emeryville on Thursday. On Saturday, they alerted the public to avoid the Oakland Estuary after an estimated 50,000 gallons of raw sewage spilled during a power outage Friday night at their wastewater treatment plant in West Oakland.

The spill occurred after power outages between 5 and 7 p.m., ordered by the California Independent System Operator, caused a pump to fail, EBMUD said Saturday.

“This power outage caused failure of major equipment at the wastewater plant, including the ability for EBMUD to generate its own power on site,” according to a statement from EBMUD on Saturday. “Power outages like this are quite uncommon. During PSPS events we normally get notice, but this outage occurred very quickly.”

The main wastewater treatment plant in West Oakland, at the foot of the Bay Bridge, received no power from PG&E from 5:10 to 6:50 p.m., according to EBMUD.

The outage resulted in major flooding at the pump station, which transports sewage from the East Bay via pipes to the plant for treatment,
causing a back up.


ADVERTISEMENT
“hong-kong-east-ocean-seafood”

EBMUD employees worked through the night to restore pumping capacity at the plant, and stored excess sewage in storage basins, EBMUD spokeswoman Andrea Pook said.

However, flows exceeded the storage capacity before full operations could be restored and raw sewage was discharged into the estuary from 3:47 a.m to 3:58 a.m., from the foot of Alice Street and Embarcadero, according to the water agency.

Discharge started again at 4:07 a.m. and has now stopped, EBMUD said in a statement at 8:30 a.m.

Although initial estimates were that 100,000 gallons of raw sewage was released, EBMUD revised that Saturday to 50,000 gallons, Pook said.

In an effort to minimize the release, EBMUD also discharged disinfected and dechlorinated sewage — partially treated wastewater — from its San Antonio Creek Wet Weather Facility, officials said. The facility discharges at a point just west of the Jack London Aquatic Center on the Oakland/Alameda estuary.

Regulatory agencies have been notified of the spill and EBMUD on Saturday morning was advising people to stay out of the water. Signs were posted along the estuary on Saturday morning about the spill and EBMUD was reaching out to rowing clubs and others who frequently use the strait between Oakland and Alameda.

EBMUD is investigating the incident and plans to issue a report within a week. Updates will be posted on ebmud.com/customers/alerts.

Feature Image: EBMUD Twitter handle

About The Author

journalists work around the clock to report on breaking news, traffic, weather, disasters, public events, crime, courts, government decisions, newsmakers and the local issues that matter to the San Francisco Bay Area’s nearly 8 million residents. The company is independent and locally-owned, supported by subscribers.

6 Responses to 50K Gallons Of Sewage Spilled Into Estuary After PG&E Outage Impacts West Oakland Water Treatment Plant

  1. Betty Tyler says:

    Not a good week for EBMUD.

    • Musia Stagg says:

      Worse for PG&E

      • Worse for residents says:

        Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Andrew Wheeler delivered a speech last week at the Nixon Presidential Library to commemorate the passage of the National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA).

        He noted the Trump administration has fulfilled the EPA’s true purpose by focusing on cleaning up the environment, rather than “single issue advocacy” on the issue of climate change “to virtue-signal to foreign capitals.”

        He cited the Oakland sewage spill as an example of how the contemporary environmentalist movement has lost focus. California has shifted rapidly to solar and wind power, in pursuit of a statutory goal of 100% renewable energy by 2045. However, solar and wind power proved inadequate in last month’s blackouts, which could recur in the state’s current heat wave. The rolling blackouts are the result of policies against power plants being fueled by natural gas. As state policymakers push more renewables onto the grid at times of the day when renewables aren’t available, these environmental accidents will happen more often.

        1. During the first three years of the Trump Administration, air pollution in this country fell 7 percent.

        2. Last year, EPA delisted 27 Superfund sites, the most in a single year since 2001.

        3. EPA programs have contributed more than $40 billion dollars to clean water infrastructure investment during President Trump’s first term.

        California’s failing energy policies are a warning that Joe Biden’s goal of reaching 100% renewables by 2035 is ridiculous. Kamala Harris has called California’s energy policies a “model” for the nation. If you like sewage spills.

  2. Movements in our water closets resemble our council members says:

    Since Danbury, Connecticut is naming their sewage treatment plant after John Oliver I believe EBMUD’s WWTP should be renamed the Patz-Bauters-Medina socialist propaganda plant.

  3. Robin Freeman says:

    Unfortunately, the EPA speech incorrectly links solar power, sewage spills and power outages to intensify harmful cultural divisions.

Leave a Reply