The San Diego Sewerage and Water Conservation District’s Marina del Rey Sewage Treatment Plant Spills

Sewage spill prompts beach closure in Marina del Rey


Marina del Rey Fire Department captain Mike DeFilippo was working a shift at a restaurant on the morning of April 5 when he heard an alarm sound. As he drove down an alley to answer the call, he saw a man in full uniform being pulled into an ambulance on a stretcher. Just then, Deville Street re-opened to traffic.

“It was unreal,” DeFilippo said after finishing his two-hour shift.

It was Deville Street again that night when a second sewage treatment plant spill happened just west of the intersection with Venice Boulevard. A few minutes after midnight, a man began running through the intersection when the lights turned from red to green. This time, however, the street didn’t re-open immediately.

“It was a shock to see the man because it was really scary,” said Janie Rodriguez, a co-owner of the restaurant, who owns two nearby businesses and was working late that night when the spill occurred. Then, a couple of minutes later, the street reopened.

According to a report by the state’s Department of Toxic Substances Control, the spill began at 1:09 a.m. and began at the San Diego Sewerage and Water Conservation District’s Marina del Rey wastewater treatment plant. As the plant began to pump a combination of treated and untreated sewage into the Pacific Ocean via five water intake pipes that extend from the plant, the sewage entered a stream near the intersection of Deville and El Paseo. At about 4:15 a.m., the stream began filling with a blue liquid, according to the report. The smell of the sewage was powerful enough that it caused heavy traffic to be diverted onto the beach.

Then, at about 4:51 a.m., the smell of sulfur came from the stream. The sewage had combined with an oil spill that had accumulated from the morning’s oil spill in a nearby ocean, at the base of the bridge over the Santa Monica Mountains, according to the San Diego City Council’s environmental division. Sometime during the night, the oil had spilled into the ocean as well.

Marina del Rey Unified School District’s superintendent,

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