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Restaurant Sewage Spills on Beach

About 200 gallons of untreated sewage from the Pier Fish House restaurant leaked onto the sand below the Ventura Pier on Labor Day, but county officials said Tuesday the spill did not contaminate ocean water.

The spill occurred when a steel strap that held the pipe under the pier broke, causing the pipe to hit the ground and break. Waste water from the restaurant’s kitchen and restrooms poured onto a sandy area of about 400 square feet.

The area was barricaded and marked off-limits with a warning tape, said Robert Williamson, manager of community services for Ventura County’s Environmental Health Department. Most of the discharge came from the restaurant’s kitchen, but some fecal material was present, he said.

An inspector from the department required that the affected sand be disinfected with a chlorine solution, which was done Tuesday. After another inspection today, the department said the barricades and tape will probably come down.

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Steve Bixler, general manager of the restaurant, said plumbers have repaired the faulty pipes. He closed the restaurant during lunch Tuesday while the work was being completed but reopened Tuesday night.

“It may have sounded major, but to me it was real minor,” he said.

The spill was about 50 feet from the water at high tide, said Jeff Price, chief ranger for the California Parks and Recreation Department’s Channel Coast District. The waste water, however, was contained between two cement footings that support the pier.

“We were not overly concerned about it being a public health hazard,” he said. “But we are concerned that people not get into it.”

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