20,000 gallons of sewage leaks in Novato

March 9, 2009 11:51:53 AM PDT
A 6-inch sewage pipe that became clogged with cleaning wipes leaked an estimated 20,000 gallons of untreated sewage from 16 homes in Novato during the past week in the Pinto Lane area, Novato Sanitary District officials said Monday morning.

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District manager Beverly James said the sewage flowed out of a manhole located in an easement behind one of the homes. It was reported to the district around 5:15 p.m. Sunday and workers cleared the blockage around 7 p.m., James said.

A camera was being inserted along the 100-foot length of the pipe this morning to determine if tree roots pierced the pipe.

The sewage might have been leaking since Feb. 28 or 29 but neighbors assumed it was from the recent rain, James said. The 20,000-gallon estimate is the amount of leaked sewage from that weekend.

The sewage is leaking into a catch basin that flows into Vineyard Creek, then to Warner Creek and Novato Creek and into San Pablo Bay.

Water samples from Vineyard Creek have been taken and the results will be known tonight, James said. Signs about the sewage spill have been posted at the creek.

Residents in the area are able to flush their toilets and the spill has had no impact on the residents' drinking water. The sewage did not back up into the homes or into yards, James said.

The pipe was likely installed in the 1970s, she said.

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