Coastkeeper Seeks Stories From You on How Much Labor Day Weekend 2013 was a Stinker

Visiting from out of town?
Visiting from out of town?
Photo by flickr user Terence Faircloth

And now for a message from your friendly neighborhood environmental group:

Did the 2013 Labor Day sewage spill affect you? Orange County Coastkeeper needs your story.

Call us now. ... We'll fight for you!

Oops, sorry, that last bit devolved into a Larry H. Parker commercial.

But the part about seeking stories is true: Coastkeeper is collecting remembrances from tourists and Orange County residents who were harmed physically or financially by the Labor Day weekend 2013 sewage spill in Newport Bay.

That information will then be part of Coastkeeper's presentation to the Santa Ana Regional Water Quality Control Board, which is holding a July 24 hearing to consider corrective actions for the Costa Mesa Sanitary District.

The flow of 77,000 gallons of raw sewage into the public waters closed swimming, diving and other recreational activities from Upper Newport Bay to Newport Dunes resort. Coastkeeper wants the state water quality board to fine the sanitary district and make it remedy the harm caused by the pollution and ensure such a spill does not happen again.

Swimmers who were exposed to contaminants and bacteria that sickened them, tourists who were forced to change or cancel plans and business people who took financial hits are among those whose stories Coastkeeper is seeking. "Coastkeeper's goal is to use real-life examples to prove harm was caused, reinforce accountability and make sure measures are taken to prevent future spills," the group explains in an email.

As for preventing it from happening again since Labor Day 2013, too late. As Coastkeeper notes, there was another spill from the same sanitation district this past New Year's day. "The fact that these debacles occurred on holidays raises concerns about the Costa Mesa Sanitary District operations on holidays, leading to the plausible assumption that they are understaffed on these occasions," says Colin Kelly, Orange County Coastkeeper's attorney.

He's the one collecting the stories; email him at colin@coastkeeper.org.

Email: mcoker@ocweekly.com. Twitter: @MatthewTCoker. Follow OC Weekly on Twitter @ocweekly or on Facebook!

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