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Damaged sewage pipe may be fixed by Friday

A damaged sewage pipe that led to a spill in downtown last week could be repaired by the end of this week, according to Grass Valley public works officials.

And city officials could receive today the results of testing for fecal coliform bacteria taken during the spill, said Rick Beckley, deputy director of public works.

It’s unknown whether Grass Valley will face any fines from last Tuesday’s sewage spill, but Beckley said he didn’t think the city would be penalized. The state Regional Water Quality Control Board will decide if the city should be fined, and it hasn’t received the city’s report yet.



Between 1,000 and 1,500 gallons of sewage leaked from a manhole cover in the 200 block of Richardson Street Tuesday morning. At least 1,000 gallons reached the Centerville Flume, a tributary of Wolf Creek, city officials said.

A section of the sewage pipe broke and dropped, causing the passageway to narrow to 2 to 3 inches, and subsequently debris built up, plugging the pipe, public works officials said.




“There wasn’t good compaction underneath (the pipe),” Beckley said.

Work to repair the damaged section could be done by Friday, Beckley said. But he hadn’t set an exact time yet and would need to coordinate with Pacific Gas and Electric Co. because a high-pressure gas line is located near the manhole.

The state is waiting for the city’s report detailing what happened and how the city will prevent the incident from happening again, said Wendy Wyels, environmental program manager with the Regional Water Quality Control Board.

Beckley said the city will give its report to the state once the city gets its water quality results.

“It’s too soon to know if they’ll be fined,” Wyels said. The state needs to evaluate more than a dozen key factors before deciding whether to fine the city, she said.

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To contact Staff Writer Greg Moberly, e-mail gmoberly@theunion.com or call 477-4234.


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