Coachella Valley Water District (CVWD) crews continue to repair two sewer pipes that broke Saturday night, releasing an estimated 2.4 million gallons of wastewater into the Whitewater River Stormwater Channel near Cook Street in Palm Desert.
The final, updated estimate of wastewater spilled has been reported to the State Water Resources Control Board, in compliance with state guidelines. The spill was contained to a small portion of the channel and did not result in flooding or damage outside the area.
Wastewater flows continue to be diverted through other pipes to the wastewater reclamation plant on Cook Street. This is a critical step to ensuring that service to nearby homes and businesses will not be affected during the emergency repairs.
At the main diversion site, near the intersection of Portola Avenue and Hovley Lane East, one lane is closed in all directions. Motorists are encouraged to avoid the intersection as traffic delays are expected. The lane closures are expected to be in place for approximately two weeks while repairs are being completed.
While trespassing in the channel is always prohibited, cones and signage have been placed in the area to warn people to stay out for safety reasons.
CVWD provides sewer service to approximately 94,000 homes and businesses. The sewer system includes approximately 1,129 miles of pipeline carrying flow to five wastewater reclamation plants. Those plants treat an average 17 million gallons daily and are capable of treating up to 33.5 million gallons daily.
The Coachella Valley Water District is a public agency governed by a five-member board of directors. The district provides domestic and irrigation water, agricultural drainage, wastewater treatment and reclamation services, regional storm water protection, groundwater management and water conservation. It serves approximately 109,000 residential and business customers across 1,000 square miles, located primarily in Riverside County, but also in portions of Imperial and San Diego counties.
Photo information: A lake overflowed and eroded a large area of the stormwater channel, exposing two sewer pipes and an irrigation pipe and causing them all to break. Crews are now working to replace the pipes and repair the channel. (View larger image)