Isleton sewage on verge of overflowing into surrounding rivers
ISLETON – The Isleton Sewage Plant is on the verge of overflowing into surrounding rivers.
“If it keeps going, it’s going to seep into the river system,” Isleton City Manager Chuck Bergson said.
The city’s sewage system currently consists of eight ponds. Some of the sewage pipes broke during the January storms, leaving the ponds to fill up faster than they can be handled.
“With the ponds, we can probably store about 40 million gallons, but we’re at the limit,” Bergson told CBS 13.
The Sacramento River, Georgiana Slough, and the Mokelumne River are all at risk of sewage intrusion.
“Once things go into the water, that’s when you lose wildlife, plants and fish,” said Jackie Fields, who lives in Rio Linda and is concerned about the overflow.
Money from the California Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES) is helping the city pump up to 100,000 gallons of sewage into the Sacramento Wastewater Treatment Plant each day, but there aren’t enough truck drivers to move the waste.
“We’ve strengthened the ponds. We’ve added some height to them. We’ve mixed them around,” Bergson said.
The problem the city is facing is that even adding more trucks would damage the roads around Isleton’s treatment ponds.
“If we abuse the roads and trash around the ponds, we can actually make it worse,” Bergson said.
People like Fields say what they’re doing isn’t enough.
“If we can do something to prevent a crisis, we should do it,” Fields said.
Bergson told CBS 13 they can continue with the 120,000 gallons of input.
“But with the storm coming if the influx pushes 300,000-400,000, we’re going to be in trouble,” Bergson said.
Cal OES, FEMA and the State Water Board have all been notified of the problem, but Bergson said help won’t come until the diluted sewage is released into the rivers.
“It won’t be news to them, but I hope as soon as it happens, I hope it doesn’t happen, but they will know the situation,” Bergson said.
The long-term solution is to fix the broken pipes. The city of Isleton has applied for a grant from the Water Quality Control Board, but the repairs won’t happen for at least two more years.
“We can also identify where in the collection system the biggest leaks are and we can repair them and get through the next winter,” Bergson said.
With the imminent threat of rain in the coming days, pools of sewage could spill into surrounding waters.