The Board claims that these events were avoidable if the plant had
prepared for the peak capacity of storm season by repairing the facility. Evidently, issues with
the plant date all the way back to 1993 when the city manager at the
time reported on operational problems. The complaint
says that there is no evidence the collection system at the plant has
been evaluated for carrying capacity since 1982.
Gromm, the aforementioned manager for the implicated wastewater treatment plant, has not yet returned SF Weekly's calls.
A hearing about the issue is scheduled for January 13, 2010, at the auditorium at 1515 Clay Street in Oakland.
UPDATE: Gromm responded to SF Weekly in a recent phone interview and admitted that there was no doubt the plant has had violations, but said that the fine was excessive as the plant had addressed as many issues as they could afford with the city's funds from the state. One of the largest contributors to the problem, he said, is the old piping that homeowners are responsible for replacing. He also mentioned that other cities all around the Bay Area are dealing with similar consequences of old sewer systems -- for example, a sewer line on Treasure Island sent 27,000 gallons of sewage spewing into the bay after a rupture over this past weekend. He said that although the Board may be slow to get to it, whatever entity is responsible will likely face fines for that rupture in the future.