Carlsbad sewage spill halted; road closure to last for days - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Carlsbad sewage spill halted; road closure to last for days

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CARLSBAD (CNS) - A stretch of Avenida Encinas will likely be off-limits to motorists through the weekend as crews work to repair a regional sewage line that ruptured and spilled thousands of gallons of sewage, possibly into a nearby creek that empties into the Pacific.

The overflow continued for almost 14 hours after the 4 1/2-foot-diameter concrete pipe collapsed on the grounds of Encina Wastewater Treatment Plant in Carlsbad on Thursday, according to the Encina Wastewater Authority.

Repair workers got the problem under control about 12:45 a.m. Friday, when they completed installing temporary bypass lines, said Debbie Biggs, director of environmental compliance for the sanitation agency.

Authorities are unsure how much sewage escaped the system, though the county Department of Environmental Health put the number at roughly 5,000 gallons several hours after the spill began.

Also remaining unclear this afternoon is the question of whether any of the pollution got into nearby Encina Creek, which flows into the ocean less than a quarter-mile away.

"We think we pretty much captured everything in the plant (property)," Biggs said.

As a precaution, however, the county posted contamination warning signs along a stretch of Carlsbad State Beach around the outlet of the waterway.

Repairs to the broken 54-inch-diameter sewer pipe and restoration of the street is expected to take several more days. The road closure has not limited public access to any businesses in the area, according to Biggs.

Wastewater authority personnel are working to determine the cause of the failure, the size of the spill and the extent of environmental contamination, if any, she said.

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