Power outage causes sewer discharge at Ocean Beach
UPDATE 10:25 a.m. March 18: Tests of water from Ocean Beach showed that bacteria counts have fallen since sewage spills Friday and Saturday, and on Sunday morning officials removed warnings against contact with the water.
Six samples taken along Ocean Beach and Fort Funston Saturday showed bacteria counts within state standards when tests were completed, according to an email from the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission sent at 9:48 a.m. Sunday.
UPDATE 3:55 p.m. March 17: A sewer spill at Ocean Beach means officials have warned against contact with the water at all areas of Ocean Beach and Fort Funston until at least Sunday.
According to an email from the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission at 3:03 p.m. Saturday, the discharge of a combination of stormwater and partly treated wastewater ended Saturday morning. But signs advising the public against water contact will remain posted until the SFPUC can complete bacteriological tests on water samples collected Saturday morning. The earliest that could happen is Sunday morning.
A power outage Friday night, accompanied by heavy rain, sent partly treated wastewater into the waters of Ocean Beach at three locations.
According to an email alert from the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, the outage cut power to pumps that move stormwater and wastewater. In San Francisco’s wastewater-treatment system, the two types of water are combined before being treated and then discharged — in the case of the waste from western neighborhoods, about four miles offshore in the Pacific Ocean.
Without pumping power, the system discharged a combination of stormwater and wastewater near Lincoln Way, Vicente Street and Lake Merced. All of Ocean Beach and the Fort Funston will be posted with warnings against contact with the water.
According to a message on a PG&E Twitter account, Friday night’s outage affected about 5,800 of the utility’s customers starting at about 8:11 p.m. Another tweet stated that power was restored at about 9:39 p.m.
The SFPUC maintains a website with updated information about water quality, as well as a water-quality hotline: 1-877-732-3224.