Contact: Janice Mandler
Las Gallinas Valley Sanitary District
Las Gallinas Valley Sanitary District responds quickly to contain spill at Descanso pump station
San Rafael (October 2, 2012) — Officials at the Las Gallinas Valley Sanitary District acted quickly in responding to a spill at the Descanso pump station Monday afternoon, containing the majority of an estimated 52,500 gallons of sewage. The District’s believes the response prevented any sewage from reaching local waterways.
A homeowner notified the district of the spill on Descanso Way at 1:05 p.m. Monday and a district crew was dispatched to the site at 1:06 p.m. The spill was stopped by 2:30 p.m.
A storm drain was opened to prevent a home adjacent to the pump station from flooding. Some sewage did enter the home’s garage, in addition to a driveway and walkway. The homeowner’s property was cleaned and disinfected by a private contractor hired by the District.
The District’s investigation strongly suggests that no sewage was released into nearby waterways. The District will continue to gather more information about the incident.
The storm drains that were affected empty into a stormwater vault, where nearly all of the spill was contained. Vactor equipment was used to retrieve about 10,000 gallons of sewage from the vault Monday and it was returned to the collection and treatment system. The remainder was being pumped out Tuesday with a sump pump, and will be returned to the system. District officials are still calculating the exact size of the spill and how much has been recovered during the cleanup operation.
The cause of the spill was a failed force main at the pump station.
The Las Gallinas Valley Sanitary District is committed to protecting the environment and public health. The District has already replaced the majority of its force mains with high-density polyethylene pipe, which is stronger and more resistant to corrosion. Since 1999, the District has spent approximately $3.5 million on sewer rehabilitation in the Santa Venetia/Gallinas Village area where the spill occurred, including improvements at the Descanso pump station.
Following the spill, the District notified all appropriate agencies.