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Residents voice concerns following sewage spill in Morro Bay

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Posted at 10:52 PM, Apr 12, 2022

Just across the street from a playground structure in Cloisters Park in Morro Bay, 10,000 gallons of sewage was released after a pipe broke.

"We believe there’s a hole in the sewer line that goes under Highway 1. It's something we're still looking into," said Greg Kwolek, Morro Bay Director of Public Works.

According to Kwolek, the spill was contained to a retention basin between Highway 1 and Coral Avenue. The nearby lift station was stopped as well and the spilled sewage was vacuumed out into tanks that were then trucked away.

Environmental health specialists from the county observed the site after the spill was reported and say the damage was minimal.

"At that point when we were there we could see that the site had been corded off and the impact was very minimal in that space," said Aaron LaBarre, San Luis Obispo County Environmental Health Services Supervising Environmental Health Specialist.

But officials don’t exactly know how long the pipe was leaking.

"Well, we don't know exactly when it happened, but we first noticed it at an inspection on Monday morning. And so the last inspection that would've caught it would've been Thursday," said Kwolek.

The sewer spill issue could not officially appear on the City Council meeting agenda Tuesday night since the spill was only discovered a day earlier, but that didn't stop Morro Bay residents from voicing concern during the public comment portion of the meeting.

"If the pipes had been replaced six years ago, we wouldn't be now in an emergency situation to replace them," said one speaker.

"So I'd like to see the council put that on the future agenda so we can address the issue," said another.

For now, Kwolek says the pipe will need to be fixed.

"We're going to see if it's a better option right now to fix the location that does have a hole in it, or we believe to have a hole in it, or to just replace the pipe outright," said Kwolek.