Late in the evening on Wednesday, August 15, the dredging equipment in the harbor grabbed onto and broke the primary sewer line that serves all of Balboa Island. The line was immediately shutdown from service, but not before approximately 2,800 gallons of raw sewage leaked into the harbor. The secondary sewer line was engaged until a small leak was detected in the valve that connects to the pipeline; it was then shutdown to prevent additional leakage.
In an effort to maintain service to the Island, City crews with assistance from neighboring agencies responded with large vactor trucks and worked around the clock to transport sewer waste off the Island. As of mid-afternoon on Friday, August 17, a new valve was installed and the secondary line was put back in service after conducting several tests to ensure nothing was leaking.
Efforts to repair the primary pipeline were quickly undertaken with the assistance of a specialized commercial dive company that investigated the damage and worked with City staff to develop a repair plan. The emergency repairs were completed on Wednesday, August 22. The repair efforts were complicated, not only because the work had to be performed underwater, but because the 1936 line is cast iron which has a tendency to fracture. At this time, the total cost of the incident in unknown.
Thanks to the quick response from the City's Utilities team, and the much needed help from Irvine Ranch Water District, Orange County Sanitation District and the Costa Mesa Sanitation District, we were able to avoid a very serious issue resulting from the damaged sewer lines.
The Orange County Health Care Agency (OCHCA) has lifted the closure previously posted for the bay making all areas open for recreational activities. To view the OCHCA's map of the the Newport Beach area, visit http://ocbeachinfo.com/newport.