Two sewer pipes broke late last night, releasing more than 100,000 gallons of wastewater into the Whitewater River Stormwater Channel adjacent to Cook Street in Palm Desert.
The leaks are expected to be successfully plugged by about 3 p.m. with the sewer flow being diverted through other pipes so that service to nearby homes and businesses will not be affected. The spill has been contained to a small portion of the channel.
The main diversion site is located near the intersection of Portola Avenue and Hovley Lane East. It has resulted in one lane closed in all four directions. Motorists are encouraged to stay away from the intersection as traffic delays are expected. The lane closures are expected to be in place for several weeks while repairs are being completed.
CVWD received a call at about 10:50 p.m. Saturday about a large area of dirt eroding in the stormwater channel west of Cook Street. CVWD staff investigated and found water overflowing from a pond at a nearby business had caused massive erosion, which exposed two underground sewer pipes and caused them to break.
CVWD crews responded immediately and worked through the night to stop the sewer flow. Now that the spill has been stopped, efforts will focus on repairing the pipe and cleaning the area. A more specific estimate of how much wastewater was spilled will be available as cleanup efforts progress.
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 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.