Raw sewage mucks up Surfer’s Beach

UPDATE Thu. 2:22 p.m.: Surfer’s Beach has re-opened after analysis found no unusual bacteria in the water.


A broken sewer main spewed up to 1,000 gallons of untreated sewage onto Surfer’s Beach in Half Moon Bay yesterday.

Dan Peterson, Director of Environmental Health for San Mateo County, told the Half Moon Bay Review it’s not clear what caused the incident or if the quality of water at the beach was affected.

While sewer authority crews repaired the area of release, the county has closed the beach until water sample testing confirms whether there is contamination.

In an earlier incident at Surfer’s Beach last Saturday, another sewer main got blocked due to the heavy rains and spilled an additional 2,000 gallons of sewage. Samples from this incident showed levels of contamination slightly higher than State standards allow for. The beach was closed until Monday when additional testing showed lower levels.

Peterson said that sewage mains are more susceptible to blockages during heavy downpours, and that high levels of grease in the system and tree roots also cause backups.

It was not immediately clear if the incidents were connected. The San Francisco Bay Regional Water Quality Control Board may investigate the incidents and issue a fine if necessary.

In the meantime, Surfer’s Beach remains closed pending test results.