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Sewage Spill Poses Threat to Harbor Waters

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Ventura County health officials are asking the public to avoid contact with water around the Channel Islands Harbor and Oxnard’s Mandalay Bay neighborhood because of a sewer spill in nearby Port Hueneme.

The spill, which occurred at 6:30 a.m. Tuesday, sent about 24,000 gallons of untreated sewage into the drainage canal that flows along Channel Islands Boulevard near Ventura Road.

The spill, caused by a rusted sewer main, was under control within two hours.

But about 8,000 gallons of the raw sewage were not recovered, and flowed into the Mandalay Bay neighborhood just north of Channel Islands Boulevard and Victoria Avenue, where homes are linked to the adjacent Channel Islands Harbor by a series of waterways.

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Although the spill was minuscule compared to the sewer line break in Thousand Oaks earlier this year that sent millions of gallons into the ocean and closed miles of beaches, the county’s Environmental Health Division is not taking any chances.

It is advising the public to avoid contact with water in Mandalay Bay, the Channel Islands Harbor and the so-called Edison Canal until Friday afternoon.

Boaters will still be allowed to depart from Mandalay Bay and the harbor, but commercial divers who clean boats, for example, will have to avoid the waters for a few days, said Elizabeth Huff, the Environmental Health Division’s community services manager.

Huff said Oxnard city officials are testing the water in the area to determine how serious a hazard it is. And the cities were directed by the county to place warning signs around the area notifying residents of the spill.

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For updated information on the spill, residents can call the Environmental Health Division hotline at 654-2432, or log on to the division’s web page at www.ventura.org/env--hlth/env.htm.


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