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Blocked Pipe Causes Spill of Raw Sewage

May 10, 2000|JOSH KARP

Approximately 1,400 gallons of raw sewage spilled into the Arroyo Conejo, which leads to the ocean, city officials said Tuesday.

The spill occurred about 3 p.m. Monday when a blocked waste-water line overflowed into a storm drain at Lawrence and Hillcrest drives. The line, which carries several hundred thousand gallons of waste water to the Hill Canyon Wastewater Treatment Plant each day, was blocked for nearly two hours by a grease build-up.

City workers are now testing the Arroyo Conejo water for impurities, said city Public Works Director Don Nelson. Signs have been posted around the arroyo urging people to avoid contact with the water until Thursday afternoon.

After discovering the blockage, the city notified the county's Environmental Health Division, the California Water Quality Control Board and the state Department of Fish and Game, Nelson said.

The city is no stranger to sewage spills and pipeline problems.

On March 31, more than 1 1/2 million gallons of partly treated sewage was released from the Hill Canyon Wastewater Treatment Plant into the ocean because a pump had failed to deliver liquid chlorine to the final treated sewage.

In February 1998, a municipal sewage line near the treatment plant ruptured during heavy rains and released more than 80 million gallons of untreated sewage into the Arroyo Conejo. The spill caused miles of ocean waters to be closed, and the city received a $2.3-million fine, which it is appealing.

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