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Main Break Spills Sewage Into S.D. Bay, Chollas Creek

Times Staff Writer

A sewer main in East San Diego collapsed Friday afternoon, sending an estimated 100,000 gallons of sewage into Chollas Creek near Euclid Avenue and eventually into San Diego Bay at the 32nd Street Naval Station, county officials said Saturday.

The break occurred about 4 p.m. Friday near Estrella and Orange avenues, said Ken Calvert of the San Diego County Department of Health Services. By 7 p.m. Saturday, workers had diverted the flow into an above-ground line.

“The main was not plugged up; apparently it just caved in,” he said. “The cause of the collapse is under investigation, but it most likely occurred because the main was old.”

Flow of Sewage

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About 50 to 100 gallons of sewage a minute was flowing from the broken main into a sewage drain that leads to Chollas Creek, Calvert said. The creek runs parallel to Euclid and Home avenues south to 32nd Street before emptying into San Diego Bay.

No warning signs had been posted along the creek, Calvert said.

“It’s pretty difficult to close the creek because it twists and curves so much,” he said. “Much of the creek is fenced off from the public and runs through industrial areas. We are trying to get the word out as much as possible.”

Only Navy personnel have access to the section of San Diego Bay that the sewage was expected to flow into, Calvert said. A Navy spokesman at the 32nd Street Station said they had been informed of the spill and were warning people of the potential health danger.

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Tests to Be Conducted

Tests will be conducted Monday to determine whether the bacteria level in Chollas Creek poses any danger, Calvert said, adding that the polluted water could cause hepatitis, gastrointestinal disorders and other diseases if swallowed.

The collapsed main also caused some minor water damage to four first-floor apartments and the basement of the Jehovah’s Witness San Diego East Congregation Hall, all on Orange Avenue, Calvert said.


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