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Sewer main break triggers wastewater leak near Guerneville

Wastewater began gushing out of a broken sewer main in the Vacation Beach neighborhood near Guerneville on Tuesday afternoon, and crews were scrambling to repair the damage on Wednesday.

The leak is at the west end of Orchard Avenue, about two miles west of downtown Guerneville on the south side of the Russian River, according to Sonoma Water officials.

While officials did not believe the leaking sewage had reached the Russian River on Wednesday morning, it was impacting several properties on Orchard, said Barry Dugan, a spokesman for the water agency.

Crews placed sandbags around one home, which was unoccupied, he said. At least two other residences “have taken on some of the water,” although Dugan said it was unclear whether the water got inside of any homes or garages.

The Russian River County Sanitation District has slowed the leak by diverting water into storage tanks upstream in the wastewater system, Dugan said.

Crews also pumped out the leaking water main, which is allowing construction workers to dig into Orchard to find the source of the leak, he said.

Sonoma Water officials are urging all Russian River County Sanitation District customers to reduce water use until the broken main is fixed.

“The more help we can get with reducing flows into the system, the easier it is for our crews to find the leak and get it fixed,“ Dugan said.

Officials believe the leak is unrelated to a wastewater spill over the weekend in Guerneville.

That leak, which was contained Saturday afternoon, was caused by a foot-long tear in a pipeline on River Road at Brookside Lane.

You can reach Staff Writer Matt Pera at matthew.pera@pressdemocrat.com. On Twitter @Matt__Pera.

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