Wastewater Spills Into Russian River From Treatment Plant
Wastewater Spills Into Russian River From Treatment Plant

Wastewater Spills Into Russian River From Treatment Plant

SONOMA COUNTY, CA — Wastewater from a spill over the weekend at the Russian River County Sanitation District Treatment Plant near Guerneville ended up in the Russian River, officials said.

The cause of the spill that began late Friday and continued until early Saturday morning is believed to be related to the weekend storm event, according to Andrea Rodriguez, a spokesperson for Sonoma Water. The agency manages the treatment plant and provides water supply, flood protection and sanitation services for parts of Sonoma and Marin counties.

Sonoma Water estimated fewer than 277,000 gallons of secondary treated water spilled within the treatment plant property just east of Vacation Beach. Part of the spill was retained onsite; however, some of the spill flowed a third of a mile through a forested area before reaching the mainstem of the Russian River, Rodriguez said.

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While the spill was taking place, the Russian River was rising overnight and the river flow exceeded 7,500 cubic feet per second — over 3.3 million gallons per minute —at Hacienda Bridge.

Sonoma Water staff notified the appropriate regulatory agencies, which triggered visits from environmental specialists. No immediate effects from the spill were found on marine or plant life, Rodriguez said.

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Secondary-treated wastewater like the kind spilled over the weekend has already had large, inorganic material removed and much of the organic material has been biologically neutralized, she said. However, some suspended solids may remain and would be removed in the third and final stage of the treatment process.

The Russian River County Sanitation District serves a 2,700-acre area comprised of the equivalent of 3,214 single-family homes. Its sanitation facility was designed to handle up to 710,000 gallons a day during average daily dry weather flow. The plant treats wastewater to tertiary treatment levels, also referred to as advanced water treatment.


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