Bay Open After Sewer Spill Prompts Closure

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The Humboldt Bay is open after being closed from a sewage spill in Arcata. The City of Arcata estimates the spill happened on Thursday, but they didn't respond until the next day.


Marc Andre, Director of Environmental Services, said crews were not able to respond because they didn't know the spill happened.


"The issue here is probably a duration of time where we didn't know about it. Once we knew about it we dealt with it," said Andre.


In response, the California Department of Health closed the bay to commercial shellfish harvesting on Thursday, and reopened it Wednesday.


Andre said closing the bay is not unusual, that the bay is often closed when heavy rains prompt road debris to travel through storm drains.


The city has a number of monitoring devices to monitor spills, but can't monitor them all so they rely on residents to call in problems.


11,000 gallons of sewage spilt and the city was able to collect 60 gallons from traveling through storm drains. Those drains, Andre said, lead to creeks and eventually the bay. Andre said it is unlikely that the sewage will reach the bay and will most likely evaporate.


"Closing the bay is prudent measure and it's already it's very temporary and short," said Andre.


Andre said residents should call if they see anything spilling out of manholes. They should inform the City of Arcata at 822-8184 or Arcata Police after hours.