The Orange County Ocean Water Protection Program agency announced this morning that a sewage spill has closed a section Newport Beach bay water.
“Until further notice, in Newport Beach, the bay water area at Bayside Drive from the Balboa Island bridge (Marine Avenue) to Harbor Patrol Beach and the East Bay Front of Balboa Island is closed to swimming and diving due to a sewage spill (approximately 2800 gallons),” according the the agency’s webpage.
The announcement was posted at 7:45 a.m. today.
The spill occurred about 11:45 p.m. Wednesday when a crane working on a city dredging project accidentally picked up a pipe and broke it, a sheriff’s Harbor Patrol officer said. The break occurred about 100 yards west of the Balboa Yacht Club. No clean up is underway, he said, and the bacteria will be allowed to dissipate naturally.
Chris Miller, the city’s harbor resources manager, said the dredging equipment apparently took a 3-foot chunk out of one sewage pipe and may have cracked a second backup pipe. Divers were preparing this afternoon to assess the damage, and city utility crews were on hand and ready to formulate a plan to make repairs.
The pipes are about ten feet below the water’s surface depending on the tide, Miller said.
Balboa Island residents rely on the pipes, but six to eight trucks from Newport Beach and other agencies have been on hand all day to pump waste as needed until the lines are repaired, Miller said.
The dredging project has not stopped but did move to another area, he said.