Baykeeper Update

Sewage spill in Oakland? Contact Baykeeper

If you encounter a sewage spill in Oakland—or have reported a spill to city officials in the past—please report it to Baykeeper. Recent news investigations found that Oakland officials failed to report spills of hundreds of thousands of gallons of sewage and may have falsified data.

Baykeeper and the EPA have an active legal agreement with Oakland that requires the city to upgrade its sewer system in order to prevent illegal sewage pollution of the Bay. Baykeeper and regulatory agencies like the EPA rely on cities to submit complete and accurate sewage system reports—and most do. If City of Oakland officials have withheld and falsified spill documents, that would undermine the agreement. The agreement has measurable goals intended to reduce Oakland’s sewage problem so that the pollution doesn’t harm San Francisco Bay.

Baykeeper is seeking reports from residents so that we can track where spills are occurring and whether the city is responding appropriately. No-swim-warning

For currently active spills, please first submit a report to Oakland Public Works.

Then submit your report to Baykeeper, too. We’re looking for reports of Oakland sewage spills anytime from 2012 to the present.  You can report spills to Baykeeper’s pollution hotline here, call 1-800-KEEP-BAY, or email Reports will be kept confidential, if requested.

Please include the following information in your report:

  • The location of the spill
  • The date/time of when the spill started
  • The date/time of when the city of Oakland was contacted about the spill
  • The date/time of when the city of Oakland responded
  • The date/time of when the spill stopped
  • Photographs or video of the spill as it is happening (if submitting an online or email report)

A recent East Bay Express investigation found that Oakland officials failed to report spills of hundreds of thousands of gallons of sewage, and may have submitted documents containing false data. The investigation also claims that the city relied on a contractor known for shoddy and incomplete work to conduct repairs of Oakland’s sewer pipes.

Sewage contains bacteria, viruses, and other harmful pathogens and can deplete oxygen, threatening sea creatures and plant life. Sewage overflows into the Bay are common, especially during the rainy season when aging water treatment facilities are overwhelmed. When sewage pipes back up, and sewage spills into city streets or back up into residences, it often gets washed into storm drains. The sewage then ends up in San Francisco Bay.

To reduce sewage pollution in the Bay, Baykeeper has secured legally-binding court agreements requiring sewer agencies serving 20 Bay Area cities, including Oakland, to upgrade their sewer systems. These agreements require cities to repair dilapidated sewage lines and accurately report major spills.

Thank you for helping Baykeeper ensure a healthy and safe San Francisco Bay.