As several storms whip through the Bay Area, officials across the region are warning people to stay out of the waters if possible.
“You may think it’s just diluted rainwater, but it’s much more than that,” said Andrew Pook, spokesperson for East Bay Municipal Utility District.
Across the Bay Area nine counties, 22 million gallons of unauthorized wastewater or raw sewage discharge were reported to the Water Board of SF Bay Region. And that’s just a preliminary report, they say.
Ninety incidents were reported around the Bay Area between December 30, 2022 and January 3, 2023, according to Executive Officer Eileen White. Those reports totaled 14 million gallons. Then for the January 4 – January 5, 2023 storm, another 30 incidents were reported, she said, involving eight million gallons of wastewater or raw sewage discharge.
“We should expect more with these atmospheric rivers,” said White. “This is not surprising. Our systems were built decades ago before our understanding of climate change. However, more money is being spent to address this and update our systems.”
To illustrate how overwhelmed public systems can get in these storms, Pook said on average East Bay MUD handles 50 million gallons of wastewater a day. On New Year’s Eve, the agency handled 650 million gallons of wastewater.
Source: NBC Bay Area