- OH, SHIT! More Than 10,000 Gallons of Raw Sewage Were Dropped Into the Bay This Morning, and More Into the Eel This Afternoon
When we last checked in yesterday, three different municipal agencies — the city of Eureka, the city of Rio Dell and, most shittily of all, the Humboldt Community Services District — had suffered exploding sewer systems, and had dumped thousands and thousands of gallons of blackwater into local waterways.
Well, it turns out today that that was only part of the story. In addition, according to HAZMAT reports filed this morning with the state Department of Emergency Services, the sewage systems in Fortuna and Ferndale also overfloweth.
Two spills, together estimated at more than 14,000 gallons, occurred in Fortuna yesterday. The largest of these was near Fortuna High, where sewage started gushing out a manhole at about 1 p.m., according to the city’s report. From there, the sewage slipped down into Rohner Creek and thenceforth into the Eel.
Another 500-odd gallons spilled at a location near 543 Main Street earlier in the day.
Meanwhile, downriver in Ferndale, some 1,400 gallons flowed out of the pipes at a location specified only as “the lowest point in town,” which was underwater at about 2 p.m. The report believes that it’s “possible” that the sewage found its way into Francis Creek.
The cause of the overflow in both towns was the same as it was in Eureka and Rio Dell — systems overwhelmed by recent heavy rainfall, some portion of which invariably finds its way into local sewer lines. The cause of the problem is also at least part of the solution: With the Eel at 18 and a half feet high and rising, nature serves as its own toilet, flushing most of the waste away into the ocean, where we need never think of it again.
More rain is coming. Who knows what surprises may be in store?