UC Berkeley reports sewage leak into Strawberry Creek

Sign warning of contaminated water. Photo: David Weisz
Sign warning of contaminated water near the bay shared by David Weisz on Twitter on Nov. 14, 2016

An accidental sewage leak into Strawberry Creek reported by UC Berkeley on Nov. 7 prompted both the city and the university to put up signs warning people about contaminated water.

According to city spokesman Matthai Chakko, UC Berkeley notified multiple agencies — namely the California Department of Toxic Substances Control, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the U.S. EPA, Alameda County Health, Alameda County Environmental Health, Regional Water Quality Control Board, California Department of Fish and Wildlife, California Unified Program Agency (toxics management) and the city — about the leak.

Berkeleyside was first alerted about the incident Nov. 14 when reader David Weisz posted a photo of one of the signs to Twitter and wrote: “… saw this in the Bay near the marina (near Univ and the frontage road). Any idea what happened?”

On the day of the spill, the city tested the water downstream of the leak and, although it found it to be visually clear, decided to erect signs to provide warnings to anyone near Strawberry Creek or near where the creek enters the bay, said Chakko. “Since it would take a couple days to get results back, signs were put up as a precaution,” he wrote Berkeleyside in an email. “The test results came back on November 10, and they showed that water quality was within normal levels. UC put had also put signs up on campus, and those have since been taken down.”


Update: On Tuesday, Chakko said the leak was caused by a blocked sewer line.

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