Glen Echo Creek Concrete Spill

Cellular cement spill on Glen Echo Creek

Cellular cement spill, April 8, 2015

On April 8, 2015, cellular concrete was inadvertently spilled into a half-mile stretch of Glen Echo Creek in the vicinity of Harbord Drive, Truitt Lane, Clarewood Lane and Clarewood Drive in Oakland (see map). Cellular concrete, a lightweight material comprised of Portland cement and a foaming agent, is used to fill abandoned pipes.

When the incident occurred, crews were working on part of the Dingee Pipeline Replacement Project. The original 24-inch pipeline was drained, and contractor crews were filling the old pipe with concrete to prevent settlement of the road above.

The spill occurred when a non-standard valve was left partially open, despite an inspection by EBMUD crews of all valves prior to the concrete work. This valve was a non-standard valve, which opened left while most valves in our water distribution system open right. Investigation into the cause of the incident determined that visual and physical inspections of the abandoned pipeline were not adequate to confirm the pipeline’s readiness for this type of work.

Our construction specifications now require an air pressure test on all pipes prior to filling with concrete to confirm the pipe’s ability to hold the concrete. With the new procedure in place, a similar event would not occur. 

EBMUD cares deeply about local watersheds, and is disappointed that this accident occurred. EBMUD works to prevent incidents like this from occurring and has taken steps to ensure this won’t happen again.

Settlement reached

EBMUD has agreed to pay just over $426,000 to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife and the San Francisco Bay Regional Water Quality Control Board for penalties and damages resulting from the cellular concrete spill in the Rockridge Branch of Glen Echo Creek.  

As part of our commitment to environmental stewardship and a healthy Bay, EBMUD will utilize a portion of the settlement funds to support a study to monitor polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in sediment in San Leandro Bay. The study will be undertaken by the San Francisco Estuary Institute’s Regional Monitoring Program.

Restoration work continues

Following the spill, EBMUD collaborated with state and local resource agencies to quickly clean the area and is restoring the area. EBMUD is committed to continued habitat protection and monitoring to assure the creek’s long-term health.

While the initial phase of cleanup is complete, EBMUD has transitioned to the long-term restoration phase for the affected area. EBMUD will place eight yards of gravel in the creek bed to provide habitat and control erosion. Our biologists will provide long-term monitoring with the goal of ensuring the health of insects, plant life and the environment.