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Disaster averted after sewer line punctured

Swift action by city workers averted a disaster Tuesday.

The crew rerouted sewage from a damaged Nyes Place Lift Station line to avoid a spill into the ocean at Victoria Beach.

“It could have been much worse,” Water Quality Department Director Dave Schissler said.

Schissler said the damage was caused when a Cutting Edge Communicator contractor punched a hole in the line, which feeds into the North Coast Interceptor, while boring to install fiber-optic cable, a water pressure process. The contractor realized there was a problem when more water than expected bubbled up.


A water district crew in the area notified the city. The head of the boring tool was stuck in the pipe, Schissler said, which allowed time for city workers to stop the spill.

“What made it more difficult was the plethora of utilities on either side of Dizz’s [restaurant] on Coast Highway and Victoria Place,” he said.

The wastewater was rerouted through a bypass unique to the lift station.

“It was built-in when the lift station was built in 1991, a credit to the staff at the time,” Schissler said.


Repair of the damage, begun shortly after it was reported and finished by Wednesday morning, did not create any additional impact on traffic, because the lanes were already closed for the fiber optic project. Caltrans spokeswoman Tracy Lavelle said the contractor had the required permit to work in the Caltrans right-of-way, but is not affiliated with the state agency.