EBMUD admits cement spill worse than first thought

OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- A terrible cement spill that clogged a creek in the East Bay is much worse than first reported. It has caused substantial environmental damage.

A woman called Thursday night and said she found some cement material in the backyard of the Spiritual Center. So crews are now going to check the whole creek to see if there are any other spots they missed.

The cellular cement is surprisingly light -- it feels like Styrofoam. Officials say this news isn't great, but they aren't too worried about the environmental impact. They say it's not toxic.

The cement has killed two birds because they were coated in the sludge. That happened on Wednesday when the sludge accidentally spilled into Glen Echo Creek because a valve was left open and the worker thought it was shut. It was a mistake that the East Bay Municipal Utility District or EBMUD has admitted.

EBMUD is investigating how the mistake was made. When they first got the call they focused on that one area. But Friday's revelation that another area has some of the cement makes them realize they need to spread out and look at the entire creek, even the tentacles of creek that reach private property.

More cement found in Oakland creek

EBMUD's top manager visited the creek on Friday to take a look at the damage for himself and he didn't shy away from taking blame.

EBMUD general manager Alexander Coate said, "East Bay MUD takes this situation very seriously. Through a combination of East Bay MUD and our contractor, we take responsibility. The decision about the percentages of who's going to be responsible, are something we'll have to discuss and generally, these incidents take a long time to figure out."

"This is a bad situation but it's a very small and contained situation. It's about a half a mile, give or take a couple hundred yards of exposed creek bed and pipeline. So yeah it's bed, yeah we are working to cleaning it up. It's not a life threat to human hazard," said Andrew Hughan with the California Department of Fish & Wildlife.

They've called in crews from Sacramento to help them inspect the creek from top to bottom. They are also using new maps of the creek that they will be using to make sure they don't miss a spot. They say this isn't toxic, but you don't want your kids or pets to get near it and get covered with it.

EBMUD thought they would have this cleaned up by Monday, but now that they have discovered it in another area they don't know when it will be clean.

PHOTOS: Massive cleanup underway after cement spills into Oakland creek

ABC7 News reporter Laura Anthony contributed to this report.
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