Sewage spill results in health warning on Linear Ditch

People are encouraged to keep their pets and children away from Linear Ditch until at least the end of the week because of a sewage spill west of Saliman Road, a Carson City Health Department official said.

There is no danger to the public as long as physical contact with the ditch water is avoided. Bacteria levels have decreased dramatically with the abundant sunshine this week, said Ken Arnold, the health department's deputy director.

"If the sunshine keeps up as it is, the warning will probably be lifted by the end of the week," Arnold said.

People commonly run their dogs on the path that runs next to the ditch and dogs often frolic in the water and children sometimes are also tempted. But Linear Ditch even on a good day does not have ideal water quality.

"It's not necessarily recreational water," Arnold said.

Untreated sewage overflowed into Linear Ditch about 150 feet west of Saliman on March 8 during installation of a storm drainage system on Saliman, Arnold said.

A Paragon Associates worker inadvertently knocked off a manhole cover near Saliman allowing dirt from the storm drain project to plug up the hole. This caused sewage to back up and spill out of the next upstream manhole, near Cardinal Way, Arnold said.

About 4,500 gallons of sewage puddled between the manhole and the Linear Ditch and an undetermined amount spilled in the ditch. The city maintenance department on the same day used a vacuum truck to remove all the sewage on the ground, which was then disinfected, Arnold said.

He said the city will charge Paragon for the clean up costs but those have not been determined yet.

Arnold said drinking water was not affected by the spill and the sewage caused no air contamination.

Warnings are posted along the ditch. The city is monitoring the bacteria level from the spill site to the wastewater treatment plant off Fifth Street.


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