Storms Dump 170 Million Gallons of Sewage into San Francisco Bay

SAN FRANCISCO, Jan. 31 (UPI) — The recent series of California storms dumped about 170 million gallons of partially processed sewage into the San Francisco Bay, an environmental group says.

The San Francisco Baykeeper group says this was in addition to 630,000 gallons of raw sewage the storms dumped into the bay in 47 locations, the San Francisco Chronicle reported Sunday.

The “under-treated” 170 million gallons of sewage was discharged from three East Bay Municipal Utility District overflow plants on the bay’s east side, the newspaper reported.

Those “wet weather” plants process overflow during storms, but the facilities can get overwhelmed during big storms like the recent ones, and what goes into the bay can be raw sewage from toilets, kitchen sinks, creeks, cracked sewer lines or overflowing manhole covers.

Although mixed with rainwater, the partially treated sewage from the “wet weather” plants still contains pesticides and metals such as mercury, which can sicken people, fish and birds, the Chronicle said.

Baykeeper points to outdated infrastructure, in which pipes and processing plants leak, break or simply can’t handle the load. The group wants the city to assess its processing systems and figure out how to fix them.

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