GROVELAND — State water authorities recently fined the Groveland Community Services District $375,000 for large raw sewage spills that reached other bodies of water including a Modesto tap water source in 2010 and 2011.
A 12-day spill in March 2011 of 38,300 gallons made its way to Rattlesnake Creek, which drains to Don Pedro Reservoir, the main storage area for the Modesto and Turlock irrigation districts.
MID sells Modesto water treated farther downstream in a plant at Modesto Reservoir. The city mixes it with well water and delivers it to thousands of homes and businesses.
The Groveland district also spilled more than 29,000 gallons of sewage in August 2010 that reached Pine Mountain Lake, the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board said.
The Groveland district initially said the spills amounted to 1,000 gallons and 50 gallons, respectively, The Union Democrat in Sonora reported.
Water authorities documented underestimation of spill volumes, a state penalty notice says. The state might have issued a fine of up to $824,930, but negotiated with the Groveland district. the leadership of which eventually agreed to the $375,000 penalty. Of that, half will be spent upgrading equipment that processes sludge, reducing the threat to water quality, the notice says, and the other half will go to a state spill cleanup fund.
Sewage from an unrelated 2007 leak of about 1,000 gallons was contained in a dry creek bed near Pine Mountain Lake, The Modesto Bee reported then.