Santa Paula Times

Santa Paula spill dumps 5,000 gallons of raw sewage into storm drains

January 07, 2000
Santa Paula News
A spill Tuesday morning released about 5,000 gallons of raw sewage into storm drains leading to Santa Paula Creek, leading to a warning from the county Environmental Health Division that people avoid waterways affected by the spill. The spill was reported January 4 at about 7:42 a.m., according to Chief Paul Skeels of the Santa Paula Fire Department.A manhole cover near located on Ojai Road and across from Oakdale Place had popped off from a blockage.“Approximately 5,000 gallons spilled into the storm drain,” until firefighters constructed a dike and controlled the spill until city crews and Caltrans arrived on scene.The spill occurred “Right smack in the middle of Ojai Road,” noted Chief Skeels, which also serves as Highway 150, prompting the call to Caltrans, responsible for such roadways.The city’s contract wastewater treatment plant operator, OMI, sent out a truck and equipment to clear the blockage in the line.“Caltrans has legal responsibility for the highway but it’s the city’s system,” noted Chief Skeels.SPFD Duty Captain Kevin Fildes notified the county Environmental Health Division as well as the state Fish & Game Department, although “there’s not much they could do about the spill,” Chief Skeels added.
In addition, traffic was diverted for over an hour while the cleanup was taking place.The sewage spilled into storm drains leading to Santa Paula Creek at Say Road. County officials posted warnings along the creek to the mouth of the Santa Clara River. Environmental Health officials urge people to avoid contact with those waterways until about midmorning Friday, although no beaches were closed or warnings posted as a result of the spill.A less serious spill last year was blamed on a build-up of grease in the sewer system. . .such blockages can result from even small amounts of grease in sewer lines that accumulate and plug the lines.Grease should not be poured down sinks; instead it should be drained into a receptacle to be thrown in the trash of allowed to harden for trash disposal.