North Marin Water District manager Chris DeGabriele this afternoon announced, “Cleanup of the sewer spill which occurred Monday, Feb. 18, in the Oceana Marin subdivision [of Dillon Beach] has been completed.

“Sewage debris deposited on the steep hillside where the sewer spill occurred has been removed. Staw wattles, jute netting, and native grass seeding have been applied to the affected area to help prevent erosion and limit sediment from entering the drainage swale and storm drain that flows to the ocean.” The swale is downhill from where the sewer pipe broke, apparently because tree roots damaged a joint.

The spill was relatively small; initial estimates were that it totaled something over 250 gallons, some of which reached the ocean and some of which ended up in the swale and on the hillside.

logo1.gifA Dillon Beach resident discovered the spill Monday afternoon and notified North Marin, which in turn notified county, regional, and state regulatory agencies. NMWD repairmen, along with a truck from Roto Rooter, were dispatched to Dillon Beach, which took them through the town of Tomales. As it happened, the Tour of California bicycle race stopped traffic in and out of Tomales for more than an hour that afternoon, but DeGabriele assured me that the bicyclists were long gone before his crew needed to get through town.

“Results of tests completed by the County of Marin from the ocean-water samples taken on Tuesday, Feb. 19, show bacteria levels are much lower than the acceptable [maximum] standard, indicating the ocean water is safe for body-contact recreation,” DeGabriele reported. As a result, “warning signs and precautionary tape keeping people away from the area have been removed.

Today the inside of the affected pipeline is being remotely inspected with a television camera to determine if areas other than that which failed on Monday afternoon may need repair. NMWD’s contractor will begin repair of the pipeline early next week.

“NMWD provides sewer service to 222 homes in the Oceana Marin area,” the North Marin manager noted, and “17 of these homes are connected to the sewer-collection pipeline which failed.

“The six-inch-diameter, ductile-iron pipeline was installed in the mid-1970s in open terrain down a steep hillside, extending from Kona Lane to Kailua Way.”