Power Outage Sewage Spill Victory Almost Here

Sewage_Spill_Sign_smallThe region-wide power outage last September caused massive sewage spills when two pump stations that lacked adequate backup power failed and discharged into local creeks. Our volunteer water monitors found evidence of the 3.5-million gallons of sewage pooled in Los Peñasquitos Creek slowly releasing into the fragile Peñasquitos lagoon.

After the discovery, San Diego Coastkeeper sprang into action. We alerted the city of San Diego and the Department of Fish and Game about the stagnant pool of polluted water. We offered our years of background data at that site to the city to help them with their cleanup.  We performed follow-up testing of the water in the creek and in the lagoon to monitor the cleanup and shared that data with the public, the Regional Water Control Board, the city’s stormwater department and the Peñasquitos Lagoon Foundation.  We gave public testimony at the San Diego City Council’s Committee on Natural Resources and Culture Committee about the effects of the spill and the need to prevent spills like this from ever happening again.

All of our hard work has paid off. I would like to commend the City of San Diego wastewater officials who put forward a plan to ensure nothing like this happens again. They are seeking to install generators on the pump stations that lack adequate backup power. (Read our press release responding to the wastewater official’s plan.) This backup power will ensure the pumps work properly during future power disruptions. The City Council now needs to step up provide them the tools and money they need to make this happen. I encourage the City Council to do what is right and help protect our fragile water resources against similar failures.

This also demonstrates the power that our community has when we work together to find and fix pollution problems. And this is a new emphasis for San Diego Coastkeeper. Around here we call it “watchdogging” to ensure our waters in San Diego County are protected. Sound exciting? Please join our efforts by volunteering to help us patrol for pollution or donating to be a part of the solution.