Marin Sewage Spill: Again

marinsewage Another sewage spill into Bay Area waters, and again from Marin County — perhaps too proud of its green moniker to pay attention to aging pipes. This is the third significant spill within a year.

A southern Marin County sanitation district has spilled 500,000 gallons of partially treated sewage into San Francisco Bay, and the leak is not yet completely stopped. The Sausalito-Marin City Sanitary District reported that the sewage spill started around 1:00 pm Tuesday after a pipeline ruptured in the District’s Fort Baker Treatment Plant in the Golden Gate National Recreational Area.


…so many spills have occurred in the county – two spills from another southern Marin County sewage agency last January dumped more than 3 million gallons of untreated and treated effluent, closing beaches and harming wildlife – that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in April ordered nine Marin County cities and sanitation districts, including Sausalito-Marin City Sanitary, to fix and upgrade decaying sewer pipes.

SF Gate

Bay Area Water

Water isn’t only an issue for those who have long depended on glacier melt [see below] or those who live in tidal wetlands like Bangla Desh. Even in the comparatively lush Bay Area, with Sierra snow and heavily capitalized water systems, weather changes will mean life changes.

“All the research around the impact of climate change in California shows potential prolonged droughts, drier winters, more wild swings between drier years and wet years,” said Tony Winnicker, spokesman for the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, which provides water to residents of the city as well as communities on the Peninsula. “As water agencies and as consumers, we need to manage our water more wisely. There will never again be a period in California where we don’t have to think about water conservation.”

… Unless rains soak the Bay Area in the next several weeks, the district expects to have about 425,000 acre-feet of water by early fall – 175,000 acre-feet below its optimal 600,000 acre-feet. The board will vote on whether to impose rationing May 13. One acre-foot is the amount of water it would take to flood an acre to a level of one foot. One acre-foot of water equals about 325,000 gallons, which can supply a household of four for one year.

Planning for Drought