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Sewer leaks into Wolf Creek

Alicia Knadler
Indian Valley Editor

An estimated 60,000 gallons of raw sewage has leaked into Wolf Creek, and operators have not yet found the cause

Jim Hamblin, chief of the sanitation operations, said the pond is almost completely drained, and the search for a leak will continue.

It first came to his attention during the Gold Diggers softball tournaments at the Greenville Community Park in July.

A resident walking his dog down by the creek saw a wet spot and smelled a sewer odor.     Hamblin could not find the area, so a few weeks later, the person who made the complaint showed him where it was.

By then, the pond level was low, and no leak was evident.

The pond, right above the creek in that location, is referred to as pond number four, one of the older ponds in service.

A secondary lift station pumps into that pond. When the level is high enough, the raw sewage flows into another pond.

The raw sewage is mostly water, and there is rarely an odor present at the ponds Hamblin said.

Hamblin raised the level high enough to see the leak, and it remained at that level into the next day, leading him to believe the leak wasn't very large.

He then pumped the pond level down again.

He estimated less than 60,000 gallons had leaked into the creek.

He reported it to the California Regional Water Quality Control Board.

Meanwhile, he and another district employee are working to examine the dyke and the bottom of the pond.

The bottom of the pond is below the water table in winter, Hamblin reported to directors of the Indian Valley Community Services District Wednesday, Sept. 8. "No matter what, we have a problem."

Hamblin arranged for testing in Wolf Creek above and below the pond.

Until he discovers the problem, he can only assume it may be rodents or tree roots to blame.

The brush grows extremely thick there on the banks of Wolf Creek.

What you should know

There are several well-known swimming holes below the sewer leak on Wolf Creek, from alongside the Greenville Community Park down to Indian Falls.

Illnesses caused by contact with or ingestion of fecal-contaminated water are numerous, most with the flu-like symptoms of diarrhea and nausea, according to Public Health Nurse Amanda Higgins.

Since the State Water Quality Control Board's Assistant Director Robert Crandall first heard of the incident Monday, Sept. 13, he needed time to research the issue.

More information will be posted online as it becomes available, and there will be a follow-up article in the newspaper next week.

Meanwhile, for more information about the sewer pond, call the Indian Valley Community Services District at 284-7224.

For medical concerns, those interested may contact the health department at 283-6429.

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