(BCN) — The city of Salinas has agreed to pay nearly $200,000 in connection with a wastewater spill that polluted Natividad Creek, the Central Coast Water Board said this week.

Over 53,000 gallons of untreated domestic and municipal wastewater entered the creek in April 2022, impacting water quality and harming the fish population, the water board said in a news release Monday.

The water board approved the agreement on Thursday after enforcement action was taken related to the spill, which began when an electrical failure occurred at a pump station. The failure caused approximately 108,600 gallons of untreated wastewater overflowing two manholes in Salinas’ sanitary sewer collection system.

According to the water board, Salinas responded immediately to the problem and recovered a significant portion of the untreated wastewater. However, 53,000 gallons ended up in Natividad Creek.

The agreement includes two projects to prevent similar problems from happening again, according to Thea Tryon, assistant executive officer of the water board.

Salinas has agreed to pay $98,000 to the water board’s cleanup abatement account and $95,000 toward prevention. The city also agreed to upgrade its monitoring and control system, improve alarm capabilities, and increase the reliability of the Lake Street Pump Station. Manhole covers with electronic sensors will also be installed to measure real-time flow and levels. If the sensors detect a problem, they will alert maintenance staff as an early warning of a potential spill.

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