San Bruno sewage spills over 5 yearsBy Bob Egelko
The city of San Bruno spilled 1.9 million gallons of sewage and polluted water into San Francisco Bay and the Pacific Ocean over a five-year period and should pay $633,600 in fines, the staff of the San Francisco Regional Water Quality Control Board said Wednesday.
San Bruno discharged raw sewage or sewage diluted with storm water into groundwater or storm drains that feed the bay and the ocean 148 times between December 2004 and December 2009, the staff report said. It said 1.6 million gallons of sewage-polluted water was spilled in January 2008, when heavy rains generated wastewater that exceeded the capacity of the city's sanitary system.
Deteriorating equipment and roots and debris in the pipelines also contributed to sewage discharges, the report said. It noted that the board had ordered San Bruno to upgrade its water collection system in 1997 after earlier sewage spills.
The city made some changes in response to that order but failed to adopt further improvements, recommended by city officials, which could have prevented some of the recent spills, the board staff said.
The water board is scheduled to consider the fine at its May 12 meeting, said spokeswoman Lila Tang. The board's fines are payable to the state, but local governments often settle such cases with funding for local and regional environmental projects and sewage system improvements, Tang said.
City officials were unavailable for comment.
Copyright ©2010 San Francisco Chronicle. Published 02/18/2010.