Raw sewage spill in Morro Bay

April 11, 2022

By KAREN VELIE

Health officials are asking people to avoid the area between Highway 1 and Coral Avenue in Morro Bay because of a 10,000 raw sewage spill that was discovered on Monday

The sewage spilled from a break in a main located close to a sewage lift station near Coral Avenue and the Cloisters Park in Morro Bay. Crews contained the sewage in a retention basin between Highway 1 and Coral Avenue on Monday afternoon.

City staff is currently working on the repairs.


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The September, 2007 issue of a city of Morro Bay newsletter titled “Water and Wastewater News” told residents that, “Most of our Collection System is now over 50 years old and is showing it’s age. The vast majority of the system is comprised of vitrified clay piping. A number of pipeline segments are now too small or have cracks, offsets and similar problems. Many of the problems can be attributed to land movement. “


The same year, an independent review of a random sample of video sewer line inspections confirmed that sewer lines all over town were badly damaged and in need of repair. That review, which was done by a state-certified expert, found that, on average, there was a defective pipe joint every 11.4 feet. The independent review also identified numerous cracks and holes in the lines.


So, what has the city of Morro bay done about it? Pretty much nothing. The city pays for all those regular inspections of the lines and apparently just puts them on a shelf and forgets about them.


The city’s own Sewer System Management Plan (SSMP) audit documents, which are required by the water board, confirm that very little has been done to address the problems. According to city documents, the system consists of approximately 60 miles of pipe. The SSMP audit reports show that under 3 miles of line have been replaced or substantially repaired since 2009, when the SSMP program was formally adopted by Morro Bay.


They are more than willing to pick residents’ pockets to build a ridiculously-oversized and poorly-designed sewage treatment plant, but they do absolutely nothing to fix the lines. Does the local water board know about this? Absolutely. They have seen all the evidence, but they don’t seem to care either.