San Diego

More than 33,700 gallons of sludge, the gooey byproduct of sewage treatment, escaped into San Diego Bay on Friday when a contractor accidentally severed a pipe carrying the residue between the city’s Point Loma Secondary Sewage Treatment Plant and the sludge beds on Fiesta Island, health officials said.

A contractor working for San Diego Gas & Electric cut the sludge line at Evergreen Street and Nimitz Boulevard at about 11 a.m., a spokeswoman from county Health Services said.

The sludge entered a storm drain at Rosecranz and Keats streets, before ending up in a commercial sport-fishing basin at the foot of Garrison Street, the spokeswoman said.

The leak was repaired at 11:45 a.m., but not before about 33,750 gallons of sludge went into the bay.


“The only way to describe the color of the bay is black,” said Yvonne Rehg, spokeswoman for the city’s water utilities department.

Signs warning of contamination were posted Friday along the shore and entrances to boat moorings in the fishing basin, and sampling was conducted to determine the quality of the water.