Lincoln City City Manager David Hawker was recognized by the Lincoln City city council for his 15 years of city service and his retirement effective Dec. 31. The council recognized Hawker and presented him with a certificate for his time with the city. The councilors shared praises for Mr Hawker for his ability to lead the city. Hawker also announced that he hoped to have a contract offer for one of the four city manager finalists by the Dec. 22 council meeting. (Photo: The News Guard)
The Lincoln City City Council approved a contract during its regular public session Monday, Dec. 22 to hire Ronald Chandler as the new Lincoln City City Manager. Chandler will take office Jan. 20.
We spent the better part of the day trying to determine what happened this weekend as it relates to a sewer spill as well at the current condition of the water. During the day calls were made to the Devils Lake Water Improvement District, the City of Lincoln City, the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality, the Oregon Health Department, and the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. The official answer came down about 4:45 pm when I received call from the City of Lincoln City. The referred me to the article posted on the News Guard website (read article here) stating that it represented the facts related to the matter. I would encourage you to read the article in its entirety.
Here are the key elements of the article. The City of Lincoln City’s Public Works Department reported that on Saturday, April 5 at 4 a.m. a sewage pump station overflow in the 2600 block of Lake Drive at Devils Lake resulted in a minor sewage spill that did not reach the lake.
According to Lincoln City Engineer Stephanie Reid about 65 gallons of untreated sewage overflowed and was contained on the lawn area, she said that no sewage made it to the lake.
The spill was caused by a grease blockage which allowed the sewage to spill onto the ground. Crews spread lime at the spill site to disinfect the area.
Devils Lake Water Improvement District Lake manager Paul Robertson said he believes the discoloration of the lake is actually more blue-green algae (see latest images from Thompson Creek canal). He stated in an email that “the multi-colored scums (grey, bluish-green, green, and even white) which are consistent with types of Blue-green algae blooms. I have attached a photo from 1994 when we had a similar bloom which displayed many of the same colors we have seen in the last few days.” He did reference the time of year or quantity of these unusual algae.
Finally, during the day today some 20 plus fish were found dead in the swim area at Regatta Park. (see video from the News Guard) At this moment we have not heard of others areas on the lake that have experience. Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife arrived in the afternoon to observe and sample the water and extract the fish. Nobody has forwarded a theory as to why this fish kill occurred. We hope to learn the results of post mortem testing the will be perform by ODFW. We could find no historic reference to fish kill offs on Devils Lake.
We have received several reports of a sewage discharge into Devils Lake which has people who live nearby upset. Neighbors near the City pump station located at 2660 NE Lake Drive say a overflow pipe discharged raw sewage over the ground and into the lake. Images shared with us today show an oily bluish film on the surface of the lake. The film has been carried by wind to other areas of the lake. Based on the existence of the yellow caution tape around the discharge pipe we assume the City is aware of the spill but have not been able to obtain additional information.
We are asking for a detailed explanation of the following items:
- Reason for the failure
- Quantity in gallons of the spill
- Length of the occurrence:
- Time frame for repair
- Time frame and plan for cleanup and responsible entity
- Reason that notification of a water quality event was not noticed to the public
We have sent this announcement to you immediately out of an abundance of caution. We will post updates on this situation on the website as soon as we learn additional information. Since there are obvious signs of the spill as shown in the above images and since there has been no public notice we thought we share these general guidelines for sewage spills.
Raw sewage contains biological agents such as bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites that can cause serious illness and even death. There is also a risk from contamination with unknown chemicals such as solvents, carcinogens, and pesticides. Always assume that overflow water is contaminated with sewage.
The risk to health depends on the microbes present, duration of exposure and method of exposure. Microbes in raw sewage can enter the body via the nose, mouth, open wounds or by inhalation of aerosols or dusts. The most common modes of infection are through drinking contaminated water or hand to mouth transmission. Skin contact alone does not pose a health threat unless you have an open wound.
The survival of pathogens depends on a number of factors: location, type of surface contaminated, whether disinfectants are used and environmental conditions. UV radiation reduces the survival rate of pathogens.
Mild temperatures and higher humidity increase survival times. The risk of exposure when handling sewage can be reduced significantly by effective and immediate clean-up and by taking appropriate safety precautions.
For a detailed description of what to do when a sewage spill occurs download this Sewage Spill Fact Sheet.
A section from the Lake Level Monitoring report contained in Staff Report from the December 13, 2012 board meeting material. This section drafted by Seth Lenaerts.
In order to determine the impact of lake level on septic systems, the following areas were considered.
- Design standards
- Groundwater levels and movement
- Soil characteristics
- Septic attributes
Design Standards Overview
Design standards are subject to change and evolve on an annual basis. The most dramatic one time change was in 1974, when the Onsite Wastewater Management Program was created and the Department of Environmental was charged with running the program. Previously septic systems had been under the jurisdiction of the Health Department.
For the sake of this discussion, current design standards for traditional systems will be referenced. Keep in mind variances are allowed and DEQ will allow such variances depending on certain conditions. In addition, a property owner can use an advanced treatment technology which may also allow them to vary from the design standards for a traditional system.
Design standards were developed in order to protect the land, surface water, groundwater, and public health. Minimum design standards are intended to meet these criteria. Minimum design standards specify many aspects of the system including, depth of septic tank, linear feet of drainfield, drainfield trench depth, soil characteristics, depth to bedrock or hard pan, depth to groundwater, and setbacks from property lines, public water ways, utilities, and wells. Continue reading
Program is Flush With Cash
The eventual expansion of the Lincoln City sewer system to the East side of Devils Lake received a boost from an unlikely source recently. As reported in the March 14th News Guard Bi-Mart corporation has agreed to pay $25,000 toward the City’s efforts to develop a Sewer Master Plan for installing sewers around the lake.
The funding commitment is part of a negotiated settlement between the City and Bi-Mart stemming from the 2009 land purchase required for the construction of the new store located on Oar Ave. As part of the sale agreement Bi-Mart agreed to construct its new store to Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards. Due apparently to delays in the project the LEED requirement was not incorporated into the project. Bi-Mart was willing to commit to the cash contribution as well as a commitment to purchase at least 6 percent of their energy needs through the Blue Sky renewable energy program.
Commencement of project to create a Sewer Master Plan for Devils Lake has yet to be announced by the City but the general topic has been on Councils agenda several times in the past few months.
One option for tackling pollution, officials say
The News Guard
Lincoln City leaders are to take a fresh look at ways to deal with septic systems around Devils Lake, with sewering being on the table as well as a mandatory septic tank inspection program.
The City’s proposal to introduce mandatory inspections of lakefront septic systems, was the subject of vocal opposition from some property owners in the run up to its approval in a split Council vote in March 2010.
Supporters of the inspection plan said failing septic systems are contributing toward pollution in the lake, a claim disputed by the plan’s opponents.
The details of the plan were originally to be hashed out in a series of public meetings throughout 2010, but the City has since placed the project on the back burner due to other priorities. Continue reading
The News Guard
Chinese grass carp seen as vital in fight against weed
The group charged with improving the quality of water in Devils Lake is hoping to persuade the state that it needs more weed-eating Chinese grass carp to prevent the lake becoming choked with invasive species like it was in the late 1980s.
“You would think that would be pretty simple,” Lake Manager Paul Robertson said, “if grass carp were not illegal.”
The addition of more grass carp is a central strategy in the Devils Lake Water Improvement District’s newly updated Devils Lake Plan, which credits the ravenous creatures with saving the lake from weed in the late ‘80s and boosting lakefront property values in the process. Continue reading